Monday, July 4, 2022

“Nothing stops a man when his conscience is deterred”

The above statement, by Nelson Mandela, conjures all sorts of images, from suicides, rapists, murderers to a footballer kicking a penalty that decides their fate in a crucial match.

One wonders what goes on in these people’s mind at such moments, the moment Barataphati had a calling to commit to higher democratic ideals, to the political discourse which may require more sacrifice than benefits. BDP metamorphosis is now and it is the desire of this thesis to explore the aftermath of BDP split.

In 1998, BNF convulsions culminated into a split, at the time when it had all the semblances of an alternative government. Factions started somewhat with the usual power play.

The issues of contention ranged from boycott of elections if the government refused reforms of the administration and conduct of elections; adoption of the social democratic program which some thought diluted pamphlet Number 1; occupation of parliamentary flats by opposition MPs; Ledumang Congress that defied the leader and elected Michael Dingake as vice president and finally the Palapye congress where the split eventually occurred.

BDP on the other hand contained previous potential split save for inconsequential chippings in Lesedi la Botswana and Action Party. At the core of the current BDP divide is democracy.

Other than its name, BDP remains undemocratic with a lot of power centralised in the president who uses it with reckless abandon.

BDP has perfected the art of abusing its enemies and hiding under international ratings and accolades claiming moral rectitude, the same way evil guardians would treat orphans and abuse their custodianship as trustees to unduly benefit from their estate.

It has abused every privilege at its disposal including special nominations of members of parliament and council, incumbency factor to delimitation of constituencies. Members of the opposition have been isolated, ostracised and marginalised to coerce them to abandon their convictions.
BDP is a conservative party, just like the Tories of Britain or any other for that matter.

They never hid their discomfort with the labour movement and they have always flirted with capital. They mortgaged their soul to foreign interest which explains their relationship with De Beers and the propertied. They simply regard state and BDP as one, deliberately blurring the divide for unfettered exploitation and abuse of state resources.

They regard the opposition as ungrateful and unpatriotic puritans and charlatans.

Factions in the BDP can arguably be traced to entry into active politics of Lieutenant General Mompati Merafe. Upon arrival he contested for power with the strong man Daniel Kwelagobe. He inspired the young firebrands, among them Jacob Nkate who called for Masire’s retirement and who saw him as an embodiment of liberal politics.

Kwelagobe became an epitome of the old order, the face of what BDP represented and Merafe a liberal democrat.

The faces of the factions changed as Barataphathi pulled the rag under the feet of the A-Team in the run-up to the Kanye Congress and beyond on the other hand A-Team back peddled as they towed the Khama line, which is increasingly viewed as regressive.

Cult leaders, among whom Khama is categorised are known for their undemocratic credentials. Recently Professor Kenneth Good catalogued the shortcomings of the man and his administration and branded him a unilateralist who personalises state power.

Instead of addressing this not so flattering image, his detractors among them Dr. Maundeni and Dr. Dingalo went for the man and not the ball, questioning his objectivity rather than proving him wrong on what he said.

Dr. Maundeni and Quill Hermans sounded desperately patriotic on the face of De Beers/BDP gate and Merafe’s undemocratic and unprincipled limelight fiasco which are acidic to the fragile and superficial ratings on transparency, democracy and good governance.

Maundeni posits that BDP win in 2009 general elections could as well demonstrate Khama’s popularity and or support, this is in spite of gross abuse of state resources in particular and De Beers scandal specifically which tainted and compromised the fairness of the elections.

Barataphathi have bolted out, they have passed the bravery test.

They don’t have to parry negative media coverage as some media houses are already mooting for their formation.
All said and done their weathering the storm lies not in the positive media nor legitimate reasons for forming a party but with the strength of their character, their commitment to democracy and strengthening of the august house.

The real democrats have stood up! This is most welcome and will add value to our democracy in many ways including providing the requisite checks and balances on oversight institutions and toning down the executive’s unbridled and nauseating arrogance.

President Ian Khama was never going to yield to their demands. He is very decisive, a soldier par excellence and never shies away from fights. When Barataphathi won the battle in Kanye, he waged a war.

BDP hawks campaigned for elections on a manifesto that is un-BDP, promising and speaking the same language as the opposition and won. They were faced with a daunting choice, to deliver on their promises or recoil and submit to the BDP agenda with possible backlash from the voters.

Barataphathi’s principled position was to severe their relationship with BDP. If they surrendered they would face a very unpredictable future inside BDP and the electorate who voted for them on their promises. Their decision to join the opposition gives them the lifetime chance to clear their conscience and add impetus to democracy of this country, welcome aboard comrades, aluta continua.

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