The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) must be surprised, if not shocked, at the windfall of so many constituencies that have been eluding them for so many years.
The BDP is in joyous celebration after grabbing 45 parliamentary seats but, lo and behold, the truth is, only the BCP showed some growth.
The BDP posted no significant growth while the BNF went down the drain.
A closer look at the results of the just ended general election shows that the sinking of the BNF helped keep the BDP afloat while on the other hand, the fall of the BDP ensured the rise of the BCP.
In simple terms, while the BCP was punching holes in the BDP, the BDP in turn used the BNF to patch up the holes. To sum it up, the BNF was the weakest link.
That said, the BDP Chief Campaigner, Ian Khama, took his assignment seriously and carried it out vigorously. He left no stone unturned in his quest to endear the electorate to the BDP or, should I say, his favoured candidates as he was selective in his campaigns. That he was selective can be traced to the fact that even though he flew out to places far away from his base in Gaborone, he never bothered to show up at some constituencies right here in Gaborone. Perhaps I should stop beating by the bush and say Khama concentrated his campaigns on constituencies that were held by A-Team loyalists and showed little or no interest in those held by Barata Phathi.
I know I am being accused of peddling and fuelling BDP factions because I never fail to mention the two warring factions in my writings. Well, I did not invent these factions and, as such, I will not even attempt to dismantle, let alone call for ceasefire between the two factions. The fact is they exist. That notwithstanding, I am entitled to judge and opine on their operations. In fact, I am even entitled to take sides just like some “useful fools” in the other faction. After all politics is all about taking sides. What I nonetheless vow never to do is to follow something that does not conform to my conscience and principles.
Ok, like I said, Khama magic worked wonders to win the BDP some constituencies that they could only have dreamed of. Khama mesmerized many when he rocked up at Old Naledi riding a bicycle.
I am not an easy person to play hocus-pocus, but I must admit Khama wowed me with his bicycle stunt and I can only imagine, with no offence intended, the amusement and affection he left on many residents of Zola.
In previous elections, the BDP candidates in that area were reported to have splashed money on the electorates but still they failed to win their support whereas it took a bicycle ride and a few handshakes for Khama to pull the rug from under the BNF feet.
Whilst there, it would be unfair to give all credit to Khama and leave out Moupo for helping the BDP win Gaborone South. ┬áMoupo’s efforts to thwart Magama’s ambitions to stand for this constituency were relentless. It took Magama so many trips to the High Court in Lobatse to eventually, and vacuously, get Moupo’s belated endorsement. Therefore, Khama should share in the glory with Moupo in that regard.
Even in those areas where they lost, the BDP, perhaps unaware, architected their own loss. Had the BDP not played big-headed towards education and liquor issues, victory would have come like manna from heaven. It was smooth sailing. I should have availed myself for a parliamentary seat because this definitely was the year.
Right now, I would be home and dry, busy arranging furniture at my parliamentary apartment. The fact that I never was a cabinet minister would have placed me on safer ground because as it stands, some ministers went into the elections with the curse and burden of their altercations with the liquor and entertainment industry while some were always at loggerheads with the teaching fraternity and higher learning students alike.
Though hard to prove, it’s no hallucination to assert that night club curfews and students allowances contributed to the downfall of the three ministers, namely Jacob Nkate, Kavis Kario and Neo Moroka. Whereas he managed to save most of his right hand men, it appears no amount of Khama charm could change the minds of the electorate in the Ngami, Kgalagadi South and Selibe Phikwe West constituencies.
┬áInterestingly, these three fallen ministers have had some run-ins with stake holders at their ministries and to a larger extent rubbed the general public the wrong way.
Jacob Nkate and Kavis Kario’s Ministry of Education was always in the news, all for the wrong reasons. When the ministry was not entangled in disputes with teachers they would be in court with university students over payment of allowances. They faced a mammoth task of justifying the rationale behind the reintroduction of school fees and, at some point, they did the unthinkable when they increased the cut-off points for admission to universities only to back off after public outcry. It appears while they were busy parrying blows at their ministry, their opponents were busy campaigning and as to what they were telling the voters about these two gentlemen, your guess might be as good as mine.
As for Neo Moroka, I felt pity for him the moment he went around disarming people of their beer and night life. We cannot shy away from the fact that Batswana are a merry lot. Take everything away from them but their civil liberties.
So it would not be a far fetched observation to say Moroka lost his vote through his (or rather Khama’s) resentment of beer and night clubs. What is even more painful is, chances are Moroka was not preaching what he believed in and he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time because it is no secret he was pushing the cabinet agenda to run the breweries dry and have all of us snoring as early as 2am during weekends. I repeat, let the people dine and wine, drink and dance as they please. The police are there for a purpose.
Before we part, let’s take a look once more at one man who helped wreck the BNF beyond repair. In fact, this man played a more pivotal role than Khama in proving to the electorate that the BNF was nowhere near being an alternative party or government in waiting. He made sure that the BNF does not only perform dismally but went on to lose their stronghold constituencies. Moupo’s wrangling with his comrades had all the hallmarks of someone on a mission to destroy the BNF. The death of the BNF can be traced to his doorstep.
┬áIt all started with his personal troubles of which I have no interest in as I have my own to worry about. However, I cannot understand why his party failed to pick the warning signs the moment he lost the primary elections at his constituency. The writing was on the wall. He failed to prove his relevance and worth at constituency level and therefore it beats logic that the BNF went ahead and used him as their chief campaigner.
Again, if you look at the suspensions and expulsions that bedeviled the BNF just prior to the national elections, you will realize they were targeted mostly at those members who were bound to give the BDP a run for their money. Perceived or real, Moupo destroyed the BNF and that benefitted the BDP. If at all that was his main task, Moupo has accomplished his task. I therefore think it is only proper that the BDP reward him for ensuring that the BNF becomes history in Gaborone.
I hope as Khama rewards his loyalists he will not forget the equally helpful Otsweletse Moupo.