Tuesday, September 22, 2020

He may be terminally wounded but Moupo remains BNF’s best hope

The BNF has now reached the danger-point.
The die is cast as all the noise from that side has all the hallmarks of preparations for a Special Congress.

Heads are set to roll.

Sometime late last year, this column offered unsolicited advice to BNF president, Otsweletse Moupo, imploring him to call a Special Congress.

The message was that he had to rid himself of some of the disloyal lieutenants that sat on his Central Committee.

He also needed to refresh his mandate given that he was emerging from a series of protracted personal embarrassments.

He had also taken inordinately too long to build a clear vision of where he wanted to take the BNF.

Buoyed by his mishaps and an absence of strategic clarity on his leadership direction, a powerful cabal within the organization had started to actively call for his head.

Swathes of evidence pointed that some from his inner circle were not only deserting him but also plotting an ouster.

Ever an optimist and owing to uncertainty over the existence of a strong personal support base inside the party, Moupo lacked presence of spirit to call the Special Congress, hoping for divine intervention to turn the tide in his favour.

What he failed to grasp is the elementary truth that politics is a game of trust.

In politics, loyalty often plays a much bigger role than merit.

He has lost the trust of the closest aides many of whom played leading roles in catapulting him to the BNF presidency.

Patching up the cracks (which, by the way, started to become public the day he was trapped in London) is not going to be easy.

If he still wants to continue as Leader of Opposition he should look for new political friends within the BNF.

Already, there has started to emerge a new crop of trenchant lieutenants within the BNF that want to be closest to Moupo, readying themselves to fill the void left by the cabal.

It is these people that he should count on for political survival, or else he is finished.

It is these people he should cultivate or his political career is set to end up in failure as has done so many before him.

He has lately been performing superbly well as a leader of opposition.

He has been gaining confidence in parliament so much as to be audacious enough to take head on seasoned BDP high priests like PHK Kedikilwe.

He recently put on a sterling performance in his response to the national budget and received raving media reviews in return.

But still that is not enough.

In the eyes of many, he is terminally wounded.

He has since tendered a public apology for some of his gaffes.

But still his past mistakes and mishaps cry for a fresh mandate.

The idea of a Special Congress is not too late.

The Special Congress is the only known avenue that offers him the last chance for self redemption. The Special Congress offers him a chance not only to rid himself of disloyal lieutenants but to also surround himself with a new team that is entirely purist in its support and allegiance.

Truth be told, Moupo has been a liability to the BNF.

By his own admission, he has embarrassed not just himself but his party.

There is little doubt that while trying to put on a strong face, the relationship between Moupo and some of his erstwhile key allies has deteriorated, possibly irreparably; hence the dance macabre involving Harry Mothei who is accused of defying Moupo’s authority – ostensibly with the backing of the BNF powerful elite.

Moupo is not saying it publicly, but he knows so well that his current team lacks both loyalty and commitment to fight his corner, which is why they have all along been conspicuous in their failure to come to his defence.

There is another reason why he should call a Special Congress.

To the wider BNF electorate, Moupo’s personality of an ordinary and somewhat persecuted man is much more important than anything else.

Despite his problems, or because of them, Moupo relates directly to the ordinary BNF masses. And this should give him reassurance.

Beyond the elitist arm of the BNF, Moupo’s troubles are not an issue.

Ordinary BNF members feel happy in the security of knowledge that they are led by a man they can easily relate to; because, like him, debts are their daily hassles.

His troubles make him a fully paid up member of their clan.

To them, despite his troubles, he remains not only one of them but also their best hope.

They sympathise with him all the more because his troubles strike such a familiar nerve in their daily lives.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.