Sometime in 1999 while addressing a media conference inside the studios of Radio Botswana, then President Festus Mogae cautioned the world against excessive criticism of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
While Mugabe had clearly gone bonkers; killing his people, illegally seizing farms and giving them to his friends and henchmen, Mogae still found it fitting to call for restraint.
Any criticism, said Mogae, had to be measured and circumspect.
Mogae made it clear that he did not agree with many of the things Mugabe was doing, but insisted that for the international community to descend so heavily on Robert Mugabe and those around him could only prove counterproductive.
If the international criticism was not measured, Mugabe would soon develop what Mogae called a “siege mentality.”
Mogae was, of course, responding to excessive criticism on Mugabe by the West, led notably by the British government, where Tony Blair had dispatched a junior Minister Peter Hain to specifically ridicule Robert Mugabe every turn of the way.
What Mogae meant was that if the world persisted in its wild criticism of Mugabe it would not be long before the Zimbabwean President told the world to go to hell.
In recent years Mogae’s prophecy has proved correct.
Mugabe has grown so numb that he does not care about the world opinion.
He defies the international community everyday.
Not even SADC, which he says he is a part of, has any influence.
The man has become a rogue elephant clearly out to embarrass even those who to this day continue to say the world should not be too hard on him. All that matters to him is his continued stay in power ÔÇô whatever it takes!
Mogae’s phrase of a “siege mentality” crossed my mind this week after news broke out that three members of the BDP Central Committee, Wynter Mmolotsi, Kabo Morwaeng and Guma Moyo had resigned their positions.
As is often the case with the BDP these days, no reasons were immediately made public.
Fear runs the show. Talk of Stalingrad!
But it would not be too far off the mark to suspect that the trio is frustrated with President Ian Khama’s leadership style.
Those who had hoped that after Kanye peace would prevail inside the BDP were clearly delusional.
The internal war has assumed a new crescendo and it will be long before the ghosts are exorcised.
It is not a secret that since Kanye, many Barata Phathi members in the BDP Central Committee have tended to feel and behave no more like little picaninns.
The group is finished. They should start looking for a life after the BDP.
While we remain shocked at how they have been systematically snubbed and humiliated, it is the easy way they have been left to crumble on their own that will, for many years to come, be a fascinating subject for contemporary historians.
Theirs has been a phony existence.
Except perhaps for Botsalo Ntuane, almost every one of them had fancied themselves as a ministerial candidate. This drove their ambition and lack of principle.
Always a strategist, Khama perfectly understood their deep-seated opportunism and nicely played to their weird ambitions.
He promised them heavens but left them holding on to toy phones.
They are now looking more like real fools than future ministers.
Barata Phathi should be ashamed of themselves. Remaining inside the BDP can only further erode their credibility.
And now back to the “siege mentality.”
So much space has been dedicated to the BDP and its infighting that it will not be long before they too go through what Mugabe went through over the last two decades.
The extent to which we are consumed and engrossed by BDP catlike fights has been breathtaking.
It’s like nothing else matters.
That’s silly, to say the least.
We should move on with our lives and leave the BDP behind.
Let’s not get carried away. Ours is a defacto one-party state.
One way of breaking BDP’s grip on power would, naturally, be to break the BDP itself.
What better way to do that than take away some of the people who over the years had become a part of the brand BDP.