It has become totally difficult these days to talk about anything other than the madness currently consuming the ruling BDP, especially President Ian Khama’s blind drive to turn that party into an organization of unthinking toys.
Every conversation, however apolitical, ultimately veers towards BDP’s slide down the path of anarchy.
It’s an obsession we could do well without not least because we still have at least nine more years of a life under Khama.
And by the look of things we have not seen the worst yet.
Which is why Friday’s decision to sack Daniel Kwelagobe from cabinet has something ominously scary about it.
That said, we should thank Kwelagobe for the political fallout inside the BDP.
It’s high time somebody told Khama that he is State President and not God.
No other figure inside the BDP, perhaps with the exception of PHK Kedikilwe some years ago, has been as principled as to plainly and flatly refuse to pander to Khama’s whims like Kwelagobe has been doing over the last two weeks.
Kwelagobe’s case has become a moral one that even its opponents admit in private how justified it is.
It’s awfully hard to find anyone inside the BDP who does not confirm that Kwelagobe has moral righteousness on his side even though they add that he may in the end lose the war.
The same party members, many of whom publicly cheer Khama, are agreed in private that Khama’s power, which now seems to be adopting coercive undertones, should be confronted.
And for that reason, Botswana needs more people of Kwelagobe’s integrity and clarity of purpose to steer us through these gloomy periods of sustained uncertainty.
His presence of mind to stand up for the principles he believes in without the slightest prospect of material or financial reward is a scarce commodity in our Botswana of today.
Kwelagobe earned Khama’s displeasure the moment he stood up and pleaded that the BDP should not be turned into a gangland.
It’s difficult to see how that can be a dismissible offence, unless, of course, if Khama is a two-faced disciplinarian who preaches discipline only when it applies to others and not to oneself.
As it has always been since the beginning, cabinet ministers serve at the pleasure of the President, but the job’s uncertainty of tenure under the current President is a degeneration of the first order.
By sacking Kwelagobe for defending the party constitution, Khama has unwittingly made Kwelagobe the undisputed, if officially despised and humiliated, custodian of the party’s old values of tolerance, robust debate and independent mindedness.
Party members with no personal affection for Kwelagobe are likely to rally behind the persecuted man if only to stop Khama’s unbridled erosion of inner party democracy.
It’s highly likely that the next few months will see Khama’s personal prestige and moral authority take a battering as his pretensions at discipline are exposed for a sham that they are.
The irony of it all is that what is unfolding inside the BDP defies everything that the President said during his inauguration speech.
In that speech, Khama said he was a democrat.
May be its all our fault!
It’s possible we mistook him to mean he believed in democratic ideals when he actually meant that he was a paid up BDP member of good standing.
It’s disheartening that having lost the constitutional debate at the hands of Kwelagobe, Khama could not muster any inklings of humility as to accept that at least Kwelagobe was on arguing his case from the side of democracy.
By this action alone, Khama comes across as vindictive, intolerant and vengeful; a leader who does not show magnanimity.
When all is said and done, the two men’s bout is actually a fight for the very soul of the BDP ÔÇô Kwelagobe favours a generous engagement with the constitution and by extension the membership.
Khama on the other hand is for an all out dislocation where only one man, himself, surrounded by an army of subservient mascots runs the show.
It’s a fight between good and bad, or evil if you may.
Implemented with a near religious fervour and self-righteousness, Khama’s long-term project is to create a nation of pliant, unthinking mascots who are only too happy to dance to his ever shifting moods and caprice. Kwelagobe on the other hand insists on the certainty, predictability and sanctity provided by the constitution.
I suppose it’s not so difficult to choose sides.
Having said that the BDP just happens to be the starting point of a much bigger project.
Once the BDP is fully tamed Khama will set his sights on the larger society.
Everyone has to dance and drill to the tune.
That is the scary part of it moreso because the project seems to be mutating into an obsession by the day.
It’s scary that we are led by a man who wants everyone of us at his mercy, owing him something, however small and mundane.
Otherwise how do we have an institution as big as the BDP beholden to just one man who in any case arrived to where he is not out of any peculiarly outstanding personal qualities.