Thursday, July 9, 2020

Khama’s conquest of the BDP is now complete …may all glory be to the crown

True, there has been a compromise, but just how enduring will that compromise prove to be?
In a different setting, the said compromise has all the ingredients, all the hallmarks of a dictatorship in the making.

Going forward, there is going to be no contest ÔÇô not for ideas, and certainly not for power.
In style as in tone, the ruling party will from now on mimic the leader. Everything is going to be created in the leader’s image.

Those who fall foul as to miss the tune are going to be comprehensively dealt with.
In that respect, expect no mercy.

It’s an ugly prospect, but there is no other way.
After many failed attempts, President Ian Khama has finally gotten the BDP to cower under his thrall.

There has, in the past, been talk of imperial presidency. The truth of the matter is that such an epoch only started after the Mahalapye congress last week.

The first and by far the biggest victim of such imperial presidency will soon prove to be Daniel Kwelagobe. The second victim will be the BDP constitution, while everything and everybody else in between will be totally incidental as to be insignificant.

My view is that the BDP compromise is both deceiving and false.

Only one man has any reason to celebrate the deception and falsity of it all.
The compromise serves only one purpose, which is to offer an aura of serenity to the President ÔÇô at least for the period that he is leader of both party and government.

What happens once he has left the scene, Khama does not seem to care.

There is no question that following the congress, President Khama is going to want to run a party that is totally different from the one he took with himself to Mahalapye. Time will be of great essence, and he has lost a great deal of it in his early years negotiating with various power bases, all of which he has either defeated, as is the case with Kwelagobe or have left as is the case with those that went on to form BMD.

Time was when Daniel Kwelagobe was too big to be disciplined by anybody inside the BDP. Until recently, he was literally untouchable. Those days, I’m afraid, are fast coming to a close.
The main reason he was untouchable was because he always used the party constitution to win the debates.

The fact that he has recently played such a central role in sidestepping the BDP constitution ÔÇô up to now his walking stick, in favour of what has come to be expediently called a compromise has left Kwelagobe badly exposed.

Not only has he been defeated by Khama for the soul of the party, going forward Kwelagobe cannot genuinely turn to the party constitution to argue his defence should he fall into trouble.
By his nature, Khama is a control freak who cannot abide sharing the limelight with any person.
He has shared power with Kwelagobe for far too long, and he has not liked it.

As for Kentse Rammidi ÔÇô generously referred to as the Secretary General, he is going to have to get used to the fact that his position is a gift from the President. That position can be withdrawn as and when the president so wishes. Come to think of it, Rammidi is in a much more precarious position than was Gomolemo Motswaledi.

Unlike Motswaledi, Rammidi’s position came about not at the instance of any popular vote.
It is a benevolent gift directly from the president. And for the duration of his term, Rammidi is going to be continually reminded how he ended up where he is.

The last true Secretary General of The BDP was Daniel Kwelagobe, who was lucky to have served under presidents who were not so executive-minded as to want everybody to neatly fall under their shadow.
Jacob Nkate’s tenure was too short for him to have made any impact.

To cut the long story short, henceforth, Khama will not need a Central Committee to run the BDP.
In a way, he never has, but the lot that was picked in Mahalapye over the weekend cannot claim or pretend to be anything other than the president’s useful idiots.

He will from time to time present himself as a democrat who wants to work very closely with the party chairman and to a lesser extent the Secretary General, both of whom, let us face it, the President is not highly proud of.

He may once again call the BDP members of parliament for lunch at which luncheon nothing important will be discussed, with the tab duly picked by the party financier, Satar Dada.
Having totally emasculated his BDP, the tide is now firmly with President Khama. There never has been a greater opportunity for him to write his own history, giving it the flair, shades and contours he so wishes.

This is the beginning of what may turn out to be the Khama years.
And as things stand the wave can only be stopped by those outside the ruling party.


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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

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