Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Masalila’s sacking takes BDP back to dark ages …but that doesn’t make him worthy of our sympathy!

Poor Fanu Masalila, what did he do to deserve the horrendous sacking from a political party of which only a few days past he was carelessly and perhaps even naively counting himself among its supreme overlords?

More sympathetic newspaper headlines have sought to depict him as a fall guy of much darker evil forces at play inside the Botswana Democratic Party.
It may well be so.

In the meantime, political gossipmongers are already awash with all kinds of thriller stories, wherein he is accused of all sorts of crimes, including allegations of fiddling with party constitutional amendments and falsifying police accident reports, ostensibly to pervert the courses of justice.

Coming a few days before an important National Council meeting, Masalila’s sacking is carefully choreographed to send a clear and unmistakable message that President Ian Khama will do whatever it takes to maintain the semblance of unity he has worked might and main to portray inside the BDP.

Masalila’s sacking is meant to create a climate of fright and fear among the BDP faithful while nurturing and cultivating a climate of fortitude around the President.

The message is clear; the President will do whatever it takes to maintain unity, and nobody is above the rules.

We may blame Khama and company but Masalila too has had a hand in his demise.

Arriving onto the scene at a time when the party was just emerging from its darkest days as a result of the split, Masalila showed no knack for reform.

Although he was often quoted as a modernizer, at least by BDP standards, the fact of the matter is that he did not bring any intrinsically new values other than attempting to run the party like a corporate, which it so clearly is not.

As power trappings and other entreaties went to his head on account of rubbing shoulders with big names of the establishment, he increasingly grew vain and more self-important, an addiction that sadly many of our young promising politicians, chiefly those that he now leaves behind in the BDP after his beheading have not been able to successfully circumvent.

Instead of preaching humility and restraint, he remorselessly pandered to the party’s lowest instincts: arrogance, patronage, vanity, self-righteousness and treating the media and opposition (especially the media) with brazen spite and contempt.

Little did he know that like all other monsters, the BDP thrives on feeding on own children. His biggest mistake was to count himself among the BDP princes.

Even less did he know that inside the BDP, all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.

Those who have known him during his short stay at Tsholetsa House, and I am not one of them, say he isolated himself by his high horse attitude.

In our newsroom, I have lost count of reports of his self-regarding and unapproachable demeanour by younger reporters who have tried to interview him.

Masalila, it is reported, is a man at peace with himself. That is well and good.
But make no mistake, he is unlikely to ever get his job back again.

The guys he has offended are the true BDP gods. And they are vindictive, unforgiving, ruthless and determined.
I pity anyone who has their life at their mercy.
There are indications that Masalila had for sometime been perceived to be too close to Daniel Kwelagobe.

If that is so then it must be said that under the current BDP dynamics, the moment he was seen to take sides with Daniel Kwelagobe, the die was irreversibly cast.

While associating with Kwelagobe was only a few years ago the surest way of survival, protection and progression inside the BDP, the reverse is today true. With a new crowd in town, the former strongman is these days a kiss of death ÔÇôliterally.

There really is no more apt example of just how far down the tube the BDP has gone in the last fifteen years than the extent to which today’s leadership has been prepared to demonise its outgoing chairman. But that is all a discussion for another day.

We may be kind to him all we want, but Masalila does not deserve our sympathy.
Having cooked his own goose, it’s now time for him to eat it.
I am not delighted Masalila has been sacked, but far from invoking pity, his treatment by the BDP is the latest reminder of just how cruel the BDP can be, especially to outsiders who, from time to time, get carried away by the misleading comfort of staying closer to power, often misleading themselves into all sorts of self-aggrandisement and sudden pretentions that they too could actually be insiders.

More to the point, Masalila’s savage treatment by a party he thought he controlled is nothing compared to what thousands of Batswana who openly detest the BDP and its policies have to put up with almost on a daily basis.

His stay at BDP must often at times have felt like a fairy tale; receiving a call from somebody called Ian Khama, or another called Satar Dada, or getting a request from somebody called Daniel Kwelagobe or another Ponatshego Kedikilwe.

But, then, like all fairy tales, it was bound to end up in tears.


Read this week's paper