Following the rumor that the former Debswana managing director was bragging on his way from the airport after his trip overseas with some BNF members of parliament in 1997 that “this time we are going to break the BNF”, it was not surprising that the BCP was formed in 1998. One would also pause to question the impossibility of that kind of a brag if the said managing director could actually buy a sitting president out of the presidency and install one that would breathe life into the party that, comfortably, represented the interests of foreign capital, namely De Beers and other multinational corporations. It was the fundamental task of the blue-eyed boy of capitalism to use his skill and cash power to ensure that while he rejuvenated the BDP he, at the same time, made it a point that he stifled the strength of the threatening BNF.
So the formation of BCP was not, fundamentally, a result of the internal contradictions within BNF, but was a result of the arm of local capitalist giants using position seekers who were disgruntled with the then leader of the BNF. It was in the same year, 1997, that Comrade KK, responding to journalists as to who would make his cabinet if he could win in 1999, said his cabinet was within the public service and the private sector. This statement drove a further wedge between him and his BNF members of parliament as it is even confirmed by Michael Dingake in his book “The politics of Confusion”. Where does one see patriotism in people whose concern is to occupy cabinet positions? Does this in any way reflect a characteristic of being concerned about the plight of the poor and the unsuspecting followers of “the eleven men in flight”? The answer is a God’s case and no appeal.
All this is history in the making. The BCP was formed and a big blow was delivered to the BNF at the delight of the BDP which was given a further fifteen years of continued impoverishment of our small population together with a further entrenchment of a system of corruption in which the poor majority benefit only the singing of the national anthem while the BDP leadership is swimming in unimaginable luxuries. It is these very people who are preaching patriotism to us, the workers and poor peasants of this country and one wonders at the logic of a patriot who dies from poverty when his country produces 42% of the world’s diamonds, thus making Botswana the leading diamond producer in the world. This is where our point of departure with BDP starts, the distribution of the wealth of our country which has not benefited the majority of our population as has been acknowledged by the BDP leadership with its programs of poverty eradication. Patriotism is not a prerogative of the rich class only in any society as it is an in-built love for the piece of land on which one was born, which one calls a “home”. Even the poor in their poverty have that capacity to love not only the land but also themselves and the peace that should surround them.
Unfortunately, the poor majority, under the democracy of the rich class, has not been allowed the prerogative to practice their love for their country as they are forced to indulge in acts that symbolize a rotten society, and these are characteristics of the contradictions of a class society dominated by the rich which is itself dominated by greed as a major characteristic of capitalist society.
It has become evident that the majority of BCP activists shun the BMD under the pretext that they are BDP but one wonders as to why they are not BNF as a break away from the BNF. There are two issues involved at this juncture. One is that the BCP, having been formed with the influence of both local and foreign capital have similar characteristics as the BDP which was, historically, formed as a reaction to the winds of change by the former colonial masters and therefore both parties represent similar interests, the perpetual impoverishment of the indigenous population coupled with the perpetual corruption of the leadership with luxurious lives which is what the leadership of BCP whole heartedly aspires. They, in short, saw themselves as an alternative to BDP in the eyes of their masters as against the threat that was posed by BNF which spoke, eloquently, of the plight of the workers and the poor. The second issue is that the formation of the BMD congested the space occupied by BCP as the right of BNF but acceptable to capitalist thinking while the arrival of the left of BDP, in the form of BMD would not make them conspicuous enough as the alternative to BDP. So the combination, under the UMBRELLA, of the BPP, BNF, BMD and BCP would further cloud the situation for the BCP leadership to assume the role for which it was formed, to destroy the radicalism within the BNF and maintain the BDP in power or take over the state power.
Anybody who cannot conceive this fact can rest assured that they do not understand their involvement in politics. The fact that BMD are former members of BDP does not make them less patriotic because the majority of us in opposition, who claim patriotism come from predominantly BDP families, and the fact that they kicked food from the top of the table by breaking from the BDP shows some less of individualistic interest conspicuous and synonymous with the influential elements within BCP leadership.
I, as an individual, would never trust people whose aspiration has been high positions as demonstrated by our former members of parliament who defected to form BCP, simply because our problem in this country is not occupying high positions but what one delivers to the ordinary people when in that high position. It should not be taken as a misfortune to have this kind of people in our society as society is a product of its education system and education brings, within it, the character that the designer of the system aspires to see in practical terms. The greed, characteristic of capitalism, of accumulating and stashing wealth as an individual is inherent in our education system and those that do not reflect this characteristic are just survivors of the horror called our education system. We have been confronted by this scenario in several situations of electing people into positions of leadership only for them to turn into our enemies by doing exactly the opposite of what we expected of them, destroying the party instead of building it. This is normally centered on the desire to acquire personal economic elevation above the rest of the membership, and this is normally catalyzed by agents of foreign capital who see fertile ground in the minds of some of our leaders. Those of us who went through the study group program following the 1975 BNF congress would know that the enemy of the people would always use some of us, taking advantage of our poverty status, to infiltrate and counter the people’s cause in the name of internal conflicts. This was confirmed by the former executive secretary of the BDP in the 1980s in his defense in the embezzlement of BDP funds case that he used the money to induce people like the late MmaBathobakae, in Jwaneng to defect to BDP.
What is the solution to all this retrogressive scenario does not have to come from outside ourselves, firstly as individuals and secondly as a society. The acquisition of the knowledge of the mode of distribution of wealth in our society, the political-economy of our society and understanding the class composition of our society is the only way through which a better attempt to solve the current corrupted society can be achieved. This requires principled people in the leadership who do not salivate at the smell of fried food from inside security walls housing the agents of capitalism who are products of “the divide and rule” education system that we are a victim of. It is also essential for us to understand that we are not the first to be involved in the struggle for the rights of the workers and the poor, so our thorough understanding of the history of those who came before us is very critical, lest we find ourselves entangled in infinite circles. This further requires principled minds that will be ready to devote some of their private time to research and reading so that the required knowledge can be enhanced. We live in the era of information technology which does not owe any allegiance to neither slave society nor feudalism or even capitalism. It is cuts across classes on equal basis and therefore gives us support to liberate ourselves and the forgotten unsuspecting electorate. People have eyes and can see their enemy from their redeemer, and they have ears and can hear the truth from its fabrication only if the leaders reflect some honesty and integrity by distancing themselves from any semblance of rich class aspirations of looking down on the ordinary citizen while embracing the behavior of the enemy class.