When eleven Members of Parliament and scores of councilors broke away from the Botswana National Front to form the BCP, they literally chopped the head off the BNF body structure.
While the body remained behind at the BNF with the name and almost all the popular support base, it struggled (headless), with little success, to regain the requisite quality of the leadership needed to sustain and manage with any relevance a modern political movement of its size.
That is partly the reason for the current turmoil eroding the Front.
They are paying a price for failing to groom a pool of quality leadership.
Even in parliament the BNF performance is generally not impressive.
Therein none of their dozen or so MPs comes anywhere close to the BCP’s Dumelang Saleshando, a solitary BCP member who, for his age, is extraordinarily talented, imbued with depth, savvy and debating skills.
That is also why, despite a near consensus that current BNF President Otsweletse Moupo has not lived up to expectations, there is no corresponding agreement on who should replace him.
It is also because of an absence of a pool of high quality leaders that despite Moupo’s weaknesses, every other mentioned challenger comes across as a dwarf besides him.
It will be interesting how the BNF will maneuver their way out of the current quagmire where every Jack and Jill thinks they can become the party president or hold a position of influence inside the Central Committee.
It’s become a madhouse.
Consistent with their respectable political base, the BNF has been able to reclaim their position in parliament – a situation, unfortunately, not complemented by growth in quality of performance.
It is exactly because of a despicably low quality of the BNF leadership (across the board) that the party has not been able to catch up with relevant national issues, which, by the way, are increasingly becoming more complex for them.
On the other hand, the BCP has quality leadership but no numbers beneath to support the top structure.
That is a big challenge which, if they want to remain relevant, the BCP have to confront head on.
Unfortunately, it seems like the once lively and vibrant BCP is losing the spark.
For some reason complacency has begun to set.
And it seems like the once raging fire of ambition they used to have in their bellies is extinguishing.
If that happens, the political race in Botswana will once again be reduced to a one horse race.
Effectively, what that means is that the BDP will remain unmarked.
Then we could as well kiss bye-bye all our pretensions of a democracy.
The BCP, however, still has a chance.
But to grab their chance the BCP should not fall for the denial trap that has now incapacitated their older brother, (or is it father)
The BNF’s denial mentality has proved deeply counterproductive and for them they are now paying a hefty price.
This week’s by-election in Sefhophe in the Babirwa constituency is going to be very crucial in the BCP’s ten year history.
The BCP, therefore, should approach this particular ward by-election as if it was a General Election.
For them it’s a do or die!
‘Do’ because it is a last ditch to prove and convince everyone that they are a growing party that continues to appeal to people even in the rural areas.
‘Die’ because a loss, especially with a wider margin will confirm the skeptics’ view that the BCP is a spoiler for the BNF, a noisy but peripheral political entity that would do itself a favour by rejoining the BNF as a starting point to providing an appallingly absent leadership therein.
In the last general election, the BCP came a close second in the ward now being re-contested.
If the BCP wants the nation to take them seriously they either have to snatch the ward from the BDP or, at the very least, reduce the margin even more.
It is not going to be an easy task, especially because since the fallout of opposition parties at their unity talks, they have all been tarred with the same brush as irresponsible brats.
It is never going to be easy beating the BDP, but the BCP should at least know what is at stake for them.
BCP has had pretensions to a serious minded party, but the loss of Sefhophe by-election could easily reduce them to an ordinary small party in the mould of BAM and, of course, the BPP.
It’s an ugly prospect, albeit with real life chances.
Observers will be watching to see the drama with great interest.
For the BCP, it’s do or die.