Sunday, July 12, 2020

In Defence of Dr Prince Dibeela

Now that the UDC has lost, it is time that the voting public comes to know the truth about what lead to this dismal performance. The problem was all with the leadership of this coalition. The defeat has come in a manner that can best be described in military terms as “shock and awe.” We at UDC made the BDP look much bigger than it is and they too are still in disbelief with the surprising outcome.

I read with dismay the contents of Arafat Khan’s attempts to discredit Dr Dibeela as the vice president of the BNF in one of the local newspapers. These are the last efforts to make meaning to the long predicted loss of the general elections in 2019. But Khan was nowhere near being honest with the truth; instead he was very much economic with it in his essay.

Dr Dibeela stands out as one man in the BNF who has a clear track record in the party and has been involved in the struggle much earlier than many can conceive. In his own words he said; “The house of my parents in Broadhurst acted like a party office. Meetings were held there as often as needed in the days of Kenneth Koma and some thought we were related because of the frequency of his visits with other party stalwarts such as Dabutha and Rantao. We all became politicised through their political education classes.”

This man is no stranger to the politics of liberation as some would want the public to perceive. He did not come through the back door as some did for the purpose of getting a handle-hold on the highest position of leadership in the BNF, an organization they earlier shunned.

I still would like to say it was a good thing that the UDC did not win this election because we were certainly ushering in a dictatorship into State House. And I am saying this confidently and with the frequency it deserves as a member of the BNF in good standing.

The march toward this year’s elections was politically bloody as the dear leader used well-orchestrated tactics to ward off any voice of reason around him. The first thing to do was to create a well-oiled machine around him to create immunity from all forms of advice and criticism. This is what Dr Dibeeela refers to as the FearFokol Brigade. Coming from the military, I would want to refer to this cabal as a militia that was ready to brandish machetes and slaughter anyone politically who had any independent ideas from that of the president of the BNF.

FearFokol transcended into a group that can best be described as a pack of wild dogs roaming the Savanna plains of the Savuti. They teared apart anyone that dared raise a voice against their dear leader. They enjoyed the political massacres they frequently conducted and it was clear that the vice president of the BNF was certainly in their mission to eliminate.

All that FearFokol did and said had a silent blessing from the president himself as he allowed them to tear his own vice president apart. In every operation they carried, Arafat Khan presided as the high priest of the first order. If losing an election was a criminal offence, Khan would be accused No 2 and he was certainly going to jail.

It was from the Puo-Phaa WhatsApp group where attacks have been deliberately launched against Dibeela and all those that differed with FearFokol. In one incident Dibeela failed to show up at a rally in a constituency adjacent to his. He was maligned, demeaned and reduced to nothing in the group. It was with this kind of aspersions that forced him to retreat from the foreground of our politics and he concentrated fully on his constituency.

Some of us stood up to the challenge of defending this innocent man from this pack of wild dogs that wanted to devour him. I personally earned a bad name because I could not remain in a so called progressive movement that clearly took a deviation course in the trajectory we had earlier taken. 

It was in this WhatsApp group that I was muted and reduced to “read only” member. I was unable to read Arafat Khan’s comments because the well- resourced FearFokol had isolated me from accessing them even though I remained a member of the group. Ultimately they found a good reason to remove me from the group after I personally endorsed Masisi for president as I did it in style from horseback. 

Bame Piet, a well renowned media personality in Botswana once expressed his fears about the UDC attaining state power with the likes of Elliot Moshoke in the lead. His fear was that his distaste and intolerance for the media would grow even worse when at State House. The arrogance of FearFokol tore away all that public sympathy that the party enjoyed from the media fraternity in 2014.

The public needs to be told that even though Dibeela was VP, real power rested with FearFokol. There were never any regular Central Committee meetings as dictated by the constitution of the party but instead these were replaced by the FearFokol cabinet meetings.

The Letlhakane conference serves as a very good example of the power of FearFokol. They were completely in control as they disbursed cash for anything from transport to buying food. That was one meeting in the history of the BNF that was well catered for in as far as food is concerned. But the VP was deliberately kept in the dark about where the funds were flowing from.

Finally it was this year’s election; the VP and others in the CC had no knowledge of where the extravagant spending originated from. Look at the disparity between the presidents’s lush spending in his constituency and that of his VP. Dibeela even struggled to raise one thousand t-shirts for his campaign and yet his principal was a high flyer. In the words of one of Dibeela’s supporters, I would say to Arafat Khan; “Eseng mo go Moruti.”


Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.