Tuesday, March 5, 2024

It’s time for BMD to get out of the BDP shadows

It’s time, I’m pretty sure the Botswana Movement for Democracy outgrew the fact that they are an offshoot of the BDP.

That can only happen if they started behaving like an independent political entity with no emotional attachment to the ruling elite.

Perhaps they did not fully grasp it at the time, but the truth of the matter is that when they hatched and masterminded a breakaway from the ruling party, BMD leaders were essentially inviting prejudice, which, by the way, will also go all the way as to haunt their businesses, their families, their friends and relatives alike.

Opposition politics is no walk in the park. It is an existence synonymous with poverty, ridicule and want.

Such is the situation everywhere across Africa.

And, as an increasing army of observers is now pointing out, Botswana is beginning to look more and more like other African countries and less like an exception we used to marvel it was.
The fact here is that BMD sympathizers (and there are many) have clearly had enough of the BDP, and its driving them nuts. It is the leadership, it would seem, that cannot break free from the hangover.

For many inside the new party, the split is now water under the bridge. And they would rather their leaders expunged it from their subliminal existence and behaved like it never happened.

By the way, that is how the Botswana Congress Party, that other product of a split, was ever able to finally emerge from the ever present demonic shadow of the Botswana National Front.

Listening to BMD leaders endlessly rant against Ian Khama and the BDP, it’s like they still harbour the hope, an ambition even, that one day, perhaps when Khama is gone and the BDP is more democratic they will be admitted back into their old political abode.

There is no way they or their party can profit from such sentimental nostalgia.
It’s time to move on!

For a party born barely a year ago, the Botswana Movement for Democracy has emerged into a most hospitable and kind environment ground.

Time should not be wasted over futile undertakings that ultimately add no value to the organization.
To retain any relevance, the BMD should offer itself as a compelling alternative for the future.
And this can only be done if the party radiates a real hope of winning state power.

When they paid out a cheque of over P300 000 to save their leader this week, BMD was doing much more than issuing out a piece of paper; they were at the same time releasing a public statement, that within them are people with resolve and resources which not so long ago could only relate to the ruling BDP.

That in itself is a powerful and symbolic message that BMD leaders should harness, especially because bigger battles still lie ahead.

More than ever, the party needs to continue to radiate the same swagger they had in their early days.

It is in dark times like these when their very existence is put to the test that as a party BMD should be more certain of themselves.

Unfortunately that does not seem to be the case.

By its very nature divorce is a painful and miserable process for anyone to go through, but it is those that accept it, put it behind them and take to new life quickest that emerge from the pain with the least psychological hemorrhages.

It has not missed our attention that over the last few weeks, BMD activists sought to play the victim card. Although they would not say it in so many words, the villain of the piece was the BDP. That was the subtext of every interview recently given by the Deputy Chairman.

In fact, the victim hood storyline started late last year when the leader, Gomolemo Motswaledi, tried to stoke emotions by saying he would gladly go to jail rather than pay his legal costs.
I have not the slightest doubt in my mind that Motswaledi is a good man.

For a man who has been through what he has recently gone through at the hands of power he has discharged himself with exceptional grace, honour and integrity.

But his clutching at martyrdom was not only ill advised and tactless but more importantly also self ÔÇôdefeating.

While the strategy sent a wrong message that raising money to pay his legal costs was not a pressing priority it also put the BDP at the centre of BMD existence.

May be he truly believed his party would earn some political capital if he went to jail or lost his property, but he inadvertently continued to embed the BMD under the BDP silhouette.
He may have been bluffing, but that, I think, was a terrible lapse of judgment for a man who is an embodiment of so many hopes for so many people.


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