We learn from the disciplinary committee of the BDP that the child of the BDP we know to have contributed in making the party fashionable again is guilty of bringing the party into disrepute.
We are told how he has undermined authority of the party and how he carried himself in a manner that is unlike a standard bearer of a great movement that is democratic, visionary, diligent, compassionate and extra-ordinary.
In the sixty-day window during which Motswaledi awaited a disciplinary hearing of the BDP, Batswana from across a wide array of life’s walks contributed to an explosive debate that tested the boundaries of our democratic tradition as a party, and as a nation. Leaning on the one side of the debate, many of my contemporaries in the BDP, many in our nation and I, sought to portray our party as a movement that was beginning to lose its way at the expense of the noble ideals on which it is founded.
The recent currents shaking and shaping our party came as a surprise, at a time we thought was ripe to tap on the talent and energy of the deep pool of competent personnel that forms the coffers of our party. Still our hope remains, deriving its force from the character of our wise veterans, the will of the people of the nation and the determination of our generation.
On the other side of the debate, we learnt how Motswaledi had gone wayward, allowed himself to be a tool of individuals who seek to advance their own personal agendas and how the issues surrounding his case were a fabrication of the democratic idea or an empty vessel of our party’s ideals. They said he is a factionalist whose divisive motivations and actions were calculated to mechanize a frustration of the good intentions of our party leadership.
The BDP’s disciplinary committee’s five-year ban on Mr Motswaledi as party-activist has, of course, brought the debate to an end. Those on the latter side of the debate have had their way. The child of the BDP has been charged and found guilty. The decision has been taken, and we must accept the decision. In fact, we have accepted the decision.
We accept the decision because it is part of the democratic tradition to respect the processes of our party regardless of how we may feel about the style and sentiments of those who invoked these processes. We are also satisfied at they way those who supported Mr Motswaledi exhausted all democratic channels at our disposal to carry our view and way. This is the way children in a democracy ought to behave.
The five year ban is a decision of the leadership and the Disciplinary Committee of the BDP. It is theirs alone. It is a decision that only they can explain. It is them who should explain to generations to come what they have done, because one day the high school kids and the kindergarten kids will wish to know why a young man had to be persecuted and begrudged for his talent and positive energy.
The persecution of Mr Motswaledi has been a major blessing in the life of our nation, a blessing that has brewed what I call “A movement”, within our young nation. Previously apolitical and indifferent young people are now keen to participate in and nourish all matters that affect our nation’s destiny. People admire each other from across political parties or persuasions, and genuinely seek to forge common ground if it is for the upliftment of our nation.
Those who refuse to believe that what is at stake is indeed not about an individual or individuals will soon learn that the banishment of one man, does not take away from our course, because our party or our movement is a deep and wealthy oasis of emerging talent and principled visionaries.
The long queue of young leaders I have come to know in our movement will move into their places of service, one at a time, until they too face the leadership’s newfound wrath against the expression of alternative views and against any form of posture that our new disciplinary committee deems to undermine the party. This long queue of young leaders resembles the formation of ants, so that as and when they fall away to more banishment, those implementing the banishment will need to live extra-ordinarily long to fell the entire queue.
Our new Parliament in particular, shoulders much of the responsibility to carry the burner of our nation’s ideals to a higher altitude. We know what these values and ideals are, we have sung and preached them in recent times. Yet there have been grumblings behind closed doors about how our new Parliament failed to assert its independence by way of own nominations to fill the four specially-elected seats. There is no need to complain.
In the aftermath of the elections, many voters impressed upon some of their Parliamentarians who they wish to see nominated as specially-elected members. I was among the voters who shared views with some of the public representatives. It is noteworthy that there seemed to be a consensus among many voters that Mr Motswaledi should have been among the four nominations.
Another consensus emerged around the need to allocate some seats to the opposition parties, as part of enhancing our democracy and in the interest of fair-play. It should not be embarrassing that our movement partook in the shaping of these ideas.
In fact, we are delighted citizens think and do things in this way as it represents the fanning of the flames of our democratic tradition. If our Parliamentarians, for one reason or another, failed to implement these ideas, it should not be used against them nor should it be interpreted to mean that our young luminaries in Parliament are not determined to lift the burner of our ideals higher. Our confidence in them remains untarnished.
Our many progressive legislators form the cornerstone of our movement. They understand that our hopes, the hopes of our nation are on them, and that they will act swiftly and boldly to review the erroneous aspects our constitution, introduce wisely crafted electoral reforms, contribute intensively to the economic diversification debate, catalyse the robust delivery in social and economic services, invigorate our education system and anticipate our national response mechanisms to the potentially devastating effects of climatic change.
Our patient faith will allow the fullness of time guide our purpose. We will wait upon the will of many ordinary citizens who understand the needs of our nation. We will serve where we are allowed to. We will learn from our own mistakes. We will grow in the teachings of our veterans. We will pray for the future of our nation. And indeed we will celebrate in the knowledge of what our nation can become.
Our people may have overwhelmingly voted for our party, but their vote does not mean they are pleased by the recent conduct in the affairs of our party. Many of our members of parliament were voted based on the faith that they will act to fix their parties and their nation. The people of Botswana have a way of watching, quietly and peacefully. It is this silent majority that enlivens my optimism and faith. It is their calm power and their goodwill that holds the key to the destiny of our nation. We will never negotiate in the boardrooms at the expense of the silent majority, the ordinary people of our country.
But if others are less patient than we are, or more democratically aggressive in how they deal with matters of our nation’s or party’s future, or how they respond to Mr Motswaledi’s banishment, then we would not stop them, nor condemn them. We cannot be held responsible for what others will do, now or in the future. We cannot promise the manner in which our citizens will choose to exercise their democratic prerogatives.
No, we will never be bitter at what has happened, but sure we are moved. We are moved by the power of destiny. We are moved by the infinite force of our faith in the power of what is right and true. We are moved by the inner peace generated by standing for what is right and just. When night comes, we go to bed like babies and we arise to the morning rays like grooms and brides on their wedding day. We now must bow out from the stage. It is time. It is time to bow out for now.