I have followed with great interest the build up to the Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Mahalape congress and the ensuing BDP President’ speech. Let me be quick to state that I have no intention of analysing the BDP President’s speech. I leave that to more capable Batswana. However, I wish to request you, most revered reader, to assist me to put an interesting part of the BDP President’s speech under scrutiny.
The part that overcame my curiosity was where the BDP President urged madomi to:
? remain steadfast in putting their country first
? defend their own democratic values and vision
? expose the hypocrisy of infantile Marxists who preach doctrines of class conflict while these same Marxists enjoy the pleasures of bourgeoisie lifestyles.
Firstly, whether or not maDomkrag are capable of selflessly placing the interests of this country and populace before personal interest is a moot question we will leave for another day. Just as an aside, how does the BDP President explain the Matambo, Seretse legal embarrassment and even his own shady entanglement in the Wilderness Holdings and Basarwa of the CKGR?
Secondly, if you have read the BDP constitution you would be aware of the BDP’s values and vision. Likewise, I will not go into how much of the values set in the party’s constitution the party actually practices for national value. However, it is the last bullet about the hypocrisy of infantile Marxists that I would like us to examine. Curiously the BDP President was referring to the youthful leaders of opposition parties. The BDP President has this thing about the age of the country’s current opposition leaders. This makes me wonder what he finds despicable about youthfulness, given that he was at some point one of the youngest army generals in the world.
I cannot claim to have insightful intelligence on the leaders of the major opposition parties referred to by the BDP President as infantile Marxists but let’s just talk about them for a while. I want to believe that, dear reader, you have familiarised yourself with the founding documents of the Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). If you have you will be familiar with their political philosophies and economic policies.
Let us start with the leader of BNF. There is no specific reason why we start with comrade President Duma Boko by the way, except that we needed to start with one of them. I have known comrade President Boko since our UB days as a rather militant and truly outspoken young politician both in the UB and BNF politics. Thereafter, he got involved in the secession that formed the short lived National Democratic Front. He has always been affected by politics of the left and as a learned young political activist he wanted more from the leadership than just mere lip service political posturing. However, I want to believe that as a young academic and political activist he was always alive to the fact that Batswana were and are not ready to embrace Marxism in its entirety. There were challenges when he stood for election for the presidency of the BNF. However, the democratic process prevailed and he has so far led the BNF out of its self destructive mode. This is far more than can be said about his predecessors who faced far less challenges than the current opposition has to grapple with.
Though to many he might seem a little eccentric at times, the man has contributed immensely towards the growing sure footedness of opposition politics. Likewise, he has equally made his mark as a human rights activist. As a lawyer, he is bound to push boundaries from time to time. There is nothing disturbing about that. What is remarkable about the man is his resoluteness in what he holds dear. He has to the delight of many scrupulous Batswana, fought relentlessly for justice for all. If by enjoying the luxuries the capitalist society he lives in makes him a hypocrite, then aren’t we all?
Next is comrade President Dumelang Shaleshando. I cannot clearly remember him from UB but I have followed his illustrious political career with heightening interest. He is a young politician who has since breathed a new life into opposition politics and debates in the circus we call the parliament of Botswana. Since dethroning Dr. Nasha he has won the hearts of many Batswana across the political divide. This is so because he is unassuming, humble and trustworthy. These are major traits that define an effective public representative. His private and public life has so far not been tainted. Unlike many of our older politicians he has not been engaged in pilfering of public resources which is quite commendable given that he plies his trade among pirates.
Lastly is comrade President Gomolemo Motswaledi. I have also known comrade Motswaledi from our UB days and he has been an epitome of humility, fairness, charisma, and people centrednes. Though educated, he is accessible to all structures of society. He has been a mentor to many while engaged with choral music which he excelled in and through it helped the BDP grow. He is an unassuming political leader who exudes trust and what is most endearing about him is that he listens to all people with his heart.
He believes in fairness and equality of all before the law. I guess this is what soured relationship between him and his then political home. Though his political mantle has not been tested yet as he is still to go to parliament many Batswana believe in him. As one of the founding members of the BMD, a party that though very new has redefine the opposition political landscape of this country, many Batswana view him with genuine reverence. Having said this though, comrade President Motswaledi’s short coming is his humility, belief in the good in everyone of us and that no one is above the law.
Like all the other opposition leaders Motswaledi, must wake up to the reality that in the political jungle that defines the political landscape of this country, most politicians are predators. They have long realised that it is expedient to revere certain rules publicly while privately they rip them apart. They live by the eleventh commandment ÔÇô “thou shall not be found out.” These are an aggressive cadre of men and women with such practical ruthlessness and cunning to publicly pretend to have respect for established rules of engagement. Behind the public charade, they are of almost complete moral unscrupulousness. Recent events paint a vivid picture of this grotesque environment. Therefore, I will leave you to piece these together.
What puzzles me is why the President of the BDP finds these opposition politicians contemptible? Is it their youthfulness, their love for capitalist life styles or because they heeded the cry of civil servants during the recent legal public service industrial strike, when those mandated to listen to them sealed their ears and hearts to them? I hope you will be able to help me answer these questions though.
I am fully aware that I could never have paid a fitting tribute to these young revolutionaries in the space and manner that I have, so you will forgive me for this clumsy homage.
*Keagakwa is a member of the joint BTU/BOSETU Publicity Committee.