By accepting Kagiso Ntime into its mould, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party has lost a glorious opportunity to occupy a moral high ground that comes with high level patriotism as often preached by president Ian Khama.
To go a step further and call the same Ntime a “big fish” as the BDP Secretary, Mpho Balopi, did is in my opinion political blasphemy and recklessness of the first order.
I had hoped that as a country we were not that desperate yet.
Because of recent events, the opposition does not, at the moment, come across as a viable alternative, and for that reason there is no need for the BDP to lower the standards.
Yet that is exactly what their Secretary General did this week.
What Balopi has failed to internalize is the fact that because the opposition is in turmoil, all the BDP needs to do is manage its inherent weaknesses while avoiding the excitement and exuberance we witnessed this past week.
Under the circumstances, it would be silly to believe that Ntime’s change of heart was motivated by any discernible shift or improvement on the part of the BDP. In every sense, the ruling party remains cast in the old mould of exactly the same seeds that led to its split almost three years ago.
But I digress.
To put our argument into perspective, we have to ask ourselves the question: just who is this Kagiso Ntime?
By his own account, Kagiso Ntime is the man who not so long ago worked very closely with external agents who wanted to overthrow a democratically elected government of Botswana.
He is a man who not so long ago crossed the border into South Africa, not as a tourist, but rather to vilify, not just the BDP but the entire country when he told his handlers there that Botswana government was infiltrated, sponsored and manipulated by imperialists from the West.
This is the same guy who only a few months ago found nothing wrong with going into a foreign soil to tell Botswana’s enemies therein that the country was run by a puppet regime of the West.
He was unapologetic and saw nothing wrong working closely with people who had publicly wanted to sponsor a foreign led coup against a BDP led government.
This is the same man who less than a year ago went on air in a foreign owned television channel calling on Botswana government to dismantle the country’s intelligence services.
Just when did he all of a sudden grow into a “big fish?”
My view is that it takes time for a politician to qualify to be called a big fish.
A few months in the political wilderness, serving suspension for indiscipline can never be enough time to grow to those levels.
It may well be that the BDP accepted Ntime as a way of further destabilising the opposition, but to go further and decorate him with such accolades is in my view irresponsible and counterproductive.
The ruling party should have rejected Ntime’s membership application not just as a demonstration of how seriously the party viewed itself and the country , but also as a way of sending the message to future wayward dissidents that jeopardizing the country’s national security, especially in foreign soils, is an unpardonable crime that brings with it serious consequences on offenders.
Ntime’s personality would make an interesting analysis for psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and sociologists.
He relishes limelight and craves publicity.
His self-promotion can at times be nauseating.
Listening to him speak, one cannot miss the intellectual arrogance of a man fully convinced that he is the finest thing to ever happen to Botswana politics.
Through and through, he is a showman who is unable to complete a sentence without referring to himself, a result, I suspect, of a deep seated feeling of self-doubt, personal insecurity and inadequacy.
Those images of the man crossed my mind as I listened to him address that totally undeserved BDP press conference that had been called to receive him into the party.
By his own account, he has been a member of the Left for the last twenty years, sacrificing his own resources including taking life threatening risks if only to push the BNF agenda.
What he does not say is that in those twenty years he also has committed what in other places could easily pass for treason, as when he misled Julius Malema into calling for the overthrow of Botswana’s democratically elected Government, as when he misled the ANC youth leader into believing Botswana was about to host a United States army base.
By the way, Malema is today in deep trouble exactly for being as gullible as to believe Ntime’s propaganda tactics.
The new BDP recruit also has an excessively exaggerated sense of his intellectual virtue.
I remember the paper he produced last year which set the tone for his ultimate suspension from the BNF. He fancied it a scholastic masterpiece.
Reading through the paper I reached a conclusion that it could have been produced by a below average political science undergraduate.
It is worth advising Ntime that at the BDP he will be expected to tow the line much more firmly than was the case at the BNF.
His brand of politics that allows for self promotion is explicitly forbidden inside the BDP.
At the BDP he will have to worship the leader ÔÇô in public and in private – and that means keeping his thoughts firmly to himself. Any attempt to produce position papers as he often did at the BNF will immediately be punished as sacrilegious.
He will soon find out that inside the BDP his attention seeking tactics which he invariably uses to portray himself as a firebrand are frowned upon not least because they will be deemed as treading too close to a terrain exclusively reserved for the dear leader.
But then when all is said and done, Ntime’s defection and the resultant admission of him into the BDP fold serve a very vital purpose; that politicians cannot be trusted – across the board; Right or Left.