Monday, January 17, 2022

I beg to differ with Spencer Mogapi on BMD’s behavior

Last week my editor, Spencer Mogapi, was my neighbour here in the columns pages of The Telegraph.

In his column, Another Opinion, Mogapi raised an opinion that I want to whack straight out of the window for it ought not to be heeded. According to Mogapi, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) is wrong to make exclusive claim to what remains of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).Mogapi writes, “It is ominously frightening that by their behavior BMD still regard themselves as part of the larger BDP family”. He goes on to say, “To them the BDP carcass is by right theirs to inherit”.

I honestly find nothing wrong with such behavior and expectation by the BMD. Well, I was not aware the BMD was making exclusive claim to what remains of the BDP and now that my boss has shared his observations, I say way to go the BMD. Any serious political party would do that. I mean, lets get real. Any political party that does not harbour or aspire to have exclusivity to membership recruitment can never inspire me. If I understand Mogapi well, he is blaming the BMD for trying to lure defecting BDP members into their fold. He blames the BMD for having such an ‘almost legitimate expectation’ on where the BDP defectors must land. According to Mogapi, the BMD should take a break from recruiting from the BDP and give other parties the chance to salvage some remnants from the BDP ruins. That’s a load of hogwash.

Look, we all agree that the BMD, an offshoot of the BDP, is the main reason the BDP is in the Intensive Care Unit. Infact according to Mogapi, the BDP is already a carcass and here arise the question, who killed the BDP? You don’t need to scratch your head for an answer because we all know who killed the BDP. The blood stains are traceable to the BMD doorstep. Now if the BMD killed the BDP, is it not only plausible that they be given the chance to eat their kill? Perhaps I should blame the BMD for being shy about the reasons that led to its formation. Look, the BMD was formed because of fallout between some of its members (now former) and its leader, the son of its founder, Sir Seretse Khama. Don’t be fooled. These guys didn’t form the BMD because they were tired of the BDP. Rather, they were tired of Ian Khama and the way he had turned the BDP into a private entity where only his word mattered. I don’t know why the BMD wants to claim they no longer have a soft spot for the BDP, as a party. It is perhaps this denial that shocks Mogapi when the BMD want to regard themselves as part of the larger BDP family. The truth is, that is the truth. You see, I have always told BMD members not to shy away from telling the nation that the problem was not the BDP per se but rather the BDP President.BMD has been accused of what was termed ‘Khama this, Khama that’. Hey, there is no way you can ever justify the formation of the BMD without mentioning Khama.

Surely if the BMD had its way, the entire BDP membership, except maybe Khama, would relocate to the BMD and leave Khama alone with his father’s party.BMD recruits from the BDP because they have been there and seen it all. They meet their former ‘democrats’ who can relate well when it comes to discussing why the BDP is no longer hospitable.BMD members are best placed to say to BDP members, “do you remember those days when the BDP was like ‘this and that’ and how those days disappeared with Festus Mogae?” Such a conversation makes sense unlike when it is between a BCP member and a BDP member because the BDP member can easily say, “you’ve never been BDP, so what the hell do you know about how nice our party used to be?”

Ok, that example might sound trivial, though true. Allow me to jog your memory a bit. Do you remember when BNF members left to form the BCP? Yes, I know you do. During the time, the BNF was BCP’s hunting zone. There was an expectation from the BCP that if you leave the BNF, your natural destination would be the BCP.I don’t remember Mogapi blaming the BCP for making exclusive claim to what remained of the BNF back then. So here we have a precedence that has long been set by the BCP and I don’t think it is fair to now blame the BMD when they are only doing something that has been done before. It’s not even like the BMD has gone to the courts of law to seek an interdiction against recruitment of BDP members by other parties. This is why you see so much scramble over former BDP Secretary General, Kentse Rammidi. The BCP, which has no traces in Rammidi’s constituency, is busy enticing him to their side. One would have expected the BNF to be the one courting Rammidi. That said, I must say I like the ambitions displayed by the BCP in recruiting Rammidi because as far as I’m concerned no political party, run by sane people, should fold their arms as if saying the Lord’s Prayer when it comes to recruiting members. The BCP should not even feel shy to try and recruit Ian Khama just as the BMD should feel free to recruit anyone, especially from the BDP. Politics is a game of numbers, even though at times you end up recruiting shit-for-brains just because you were chasing numbers.

Talking of the BCP and the BMD, I have made some observations on the relationship between the two political parties. I know I’m about to attract ‘enemies’ but hey, to hell with the friendship if it can be severed by my honest opinion. I’m not going to fake it and pretend all is fine between BCP and BMD. The two political parties can hate me and I don’t give a rat’s ass about it. I don’t write to make friends. I write to express my opinion. My observation is that the BCP is resentful of the BMD’s growth. They see BMD as a threat to their growth and relevance. Look, Rhoda Sekgororoane, a valuable and hardworking politician left the BNF to join the BMD and the BNF took it ‘like a man’ and expressed no hard feelings. Now BMD wants to recruit Rammidi, an independent MP, and the BCP are wailing like a child whose lollipop has been snatched.

This is a small society we live in and it is easy to know who is doing what with whom, how and where. We interact with politicians and journalists. They will deny it until Jesus Christ arrives but the truth is, the BCP does not want the BMD in the umbrella party. The BMD has stolen all the limelight from the BCP and this irks the green out of the BCP. Back in the day, BCP was fashionable. It had that urban swagger. It was ‘gangster baby’, as American rappers would say to describe how cool and nice something is. Then came the BMD, ‘the new girl in the village’, and the BCP fell into the ‘oldies’ category. There you had a girl in green attire that was the envy of every guy in the village and then all of a sudden comes a new ‘chick’ with orange mini skirt.

Surely the rivalry should be expected between the two. It happens. The new girl walks around and appeals to the guys and the former pretty girl is bound to get green with envy and start spreading propaganda against the new girl. She will even tell people how the new girl has ‘blanket diseases’ just so as to drag her name in the mud. Ask yourself why the issue of incumbency has become such a hot potato at the umbrella negotiations. The BCP is only trying to make the BMD appear as the party which refused to go under the umbrella. Why else would they want to be given constituencies already held by the BMD?

It is so unfortunate that this ‘fight’ for the centre stage will derail the good intentions of an umbrella party. It was my hope that by the next general elections Botswana would be a two party state. I think what the conveners of the negotiations need to do is to tell us the truth so opposition parties can move on their own. Honestly it pains me when I see the goodwill that opposition parties had from a lot of people in the country being thrown out of the window by the selfishness of the BCP.

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