Sunday, July 3, 2022

It’s not too late to save the country from tenderpreneurs now taking over the BDP

The wider public thinks our opposition parties are mad that they cannot set aside petty differences and approach next year’s elections as a cohesive unit.

I am still to meet an ordinary member of the public who fully understands just why we have gone for months without filling an important position such as that of Leader of Opposition.

If this goes on for longer, the world would be forgiven to think we are a democracy rambling along the rails of degeneracy, even as, in more ways than one, we really are well on course to that path.

Opposition parties are to blame and trying to divert attention to the subsequent manipulations of the BDP, of which there are many, is to miss the point that such manipulations could easily have been circumvented, or possibly never even have come to bear had the opposition parties themselves had been united in purpose as was promised before the fateful events that preceded Christmas of 2011.

If they could not work together to save themselves, our opposition parties now need to work together to try and save the country.

There is a new and alarming agenda within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party which, if not addressed, would take this country further down the abyss.
The speed with which a totally alien culture is replacing that for which the BDP has always stood for is something that should fill all of us with fright.
Quack businessmen are about to take over the BDP.

Their sole purpose is to translate their political power into economic power. These are people with big business ambitions, including outside Botswana, especially with the Chinese who curiously have been singled out by President Ian Khama as no longer welcome.

Their agenda ultimately would be to get themselves to lay their hands on state resources.

It does not matter to them that behind their purchase of the ruling party lies a morally reprehensible programme that will take this country back by a generation. All that is important is that as a result of the purchase, the cartel will take inexorable strides towards becoming overnight billionaires.

To these deviants, it is a big enough vindication to themselves that the BDP has allowed itself to be bought and that after their purchase of it the party will still continue to win elections.

As one former BDP enthusiast recently confided in me in a rather dejected tone, the takeover of the party by these inherently fake businessmen is something that can no longer be stopped by BDP itself. It is a done deal, so to speak.

“As a political party, the BDP now seems all too happy to be bought,” he told me. “And these guys with their bag loads of money are all too happy to buy it, and as we speak they have put a price tag on the party,” he added, with implacable honesty.

There is a pattern to what is unfolding.

In a dastardly campaign of shock and awe these so-called business people were recently able to raise millions to allow themselves to buy the Letlhakeng West by-election right under the noses of an opposition that has been disorganized by bankruptcy.

After the victory and confident that money works, this dishounourable band of money-men has now set their eyes fixed on buying the BDP itself.

Surprisingly, no alarm bells are ringing among many BDP followers as to what the true motives of this cabal are.

The cabal, it has to be said, are not just driven by ambition.

Some of them are calculating too.

Well aware that grassroots might revolt feeling that their party is fast mutating into a breeding ground for those with unwieldy business ambitions this cartel has been quick to persuasively dress up their actions as donations to the party.

Letlhakeng West by-election has gone down as the most expensive and extravagant in Botswana’s history; the BDP women’s wing Congress to be held shortly in Kang has attracted attention not for the issues to be discussed there but for the amount of money already thrown at it, delegates at the BDP July congress have been dumb-struck by unprecedented offers to get their accommodation costs paid upfront at some of Maun’s most up-market lodges and hotels: And Maun is among the world most expensive tourism resorts.

The BDP, we must point out, has always been a party of ordinary people, the bulk of whom were not much different from those found in other parties like Botswana National Front.

But if this imminent takeover of the BDP by people with big business ambitions materializes, as it now looks inevitable, Botswana will get well on course to following the development paths of countries like Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and most lamentably South Africa where economic power has been allowed to run roughshod over political power.

This is scary and dangerous.

As the BDP allows itself to be bought by so-called business people, it is important for somebody to stand up and say there is yet another option.

That option, we insist, can only be shown by an opposition that rises above petty personalities
Unless there is a change of heart, the current intransigent refusal by opposition parties to act as a buffer against this degeneration is tantamount to complicity.

To cut the long story short, does it make sense to anybody in opposition politics that Gomolemo Motswaledi will now be standing against Dumelang Saleshando in Gaborone Central? Does it make sense to anybody engaged in opposition politics that owing to petty disagreements, UDC will be fighting against BCP in Ramotswa even as statistics clearly show that doing so will almost certainly allow the BDP a much undeserved lease of life at that constituency?

Time is indeed running out, but it’s not yet too late.

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