Monday, September 28, 2020

The national mood reflects a desire for change of Government

There are a lot of persuasive arguments that the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) splitter group, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) must start looking beyond the anti-Khama crusade. It is argued that the BMD must now convince voters that their existence is not solely predicated on a hatred for Khama’s leadership style that is founded on a ‘me nice’ mode of operation.

No one could quarrel with this argument but I contend that the call for the BMD to present their road map for their ideal Botswana has come far too early. I am very much alive to the need for splinter groups to show how they are different from their ancestors. This could be an undisputable prerequisite but in the case of the BMD, there are compelling grounds to waive this rule; Compelling because the immediate goal is to ensure that the BMD keep and sustain the momentum to ensure total collapse of the BDP.

It is a fact that over the years the BDP has become insidiously arrogant, boisterous, unaccountable, insensitive, corrupt, and an enemy of the people of Botswana. Because of its arrogance and larger-than-life pose, the BDP has failed to reform even when staring death in the face. By extension, the BDP government has always rejected vital proposals for reforms aimed at enhancing the country’s competitiveness and attractiveness in a globalized world. The BDP has become the country’s Achilles Heel.

On this basis, the BDP should never be given the slightest opportunity to regroup and rebuild such that if the anti-Khama catchphrase is working wonders for the BMD, let them not dilute the sparkle by diverting some of their energy toward the formulation of plans and policies that differentiate them from the BDP.

Sad as it may be, it is a necessary evil. At the present moment we shouldn’t care about what the BMD really has in store for us even if they raise expectations to unrealistic levels and engage in idle fantasy. The least the BMD could do when pressurized to present their alternative policies would be to merely list their priorities or salient issues without specifying what they will do.
They could deliver elegant and re-assuring speeches as counter to Khama’s daily threats that symbolize a cruel and paranoid bully intent on making people venerate him. They could talk about a soft approach to discipline based on mutual interest and respect knowing that there is a substantial element of the electorate that shares Khama’s conviction that there is need to instill some discipline.

By not alienating this group, while at the same time exciting those who feel threatened by Khama’s over-emphasis on discipline, the BMD (possibly in coalition with other opposition parties) will succeed in staging a strategic coup. The immediate goal is to get rid of the BDP, in particular, president Khama and his self-seeking cast. If the BMD or whichever political organization comes out to be much more disastrous than the BDP, we shall seek forgiveness from the Almighty.

There can be no profit without risk. However, my bet is that there will never be another Ian Khama or a semblance of him. Khama became what he is (an incorrigible despot) not so much because of his military background but much so because of his inbuilt advantages and powers such as being son of the first president of the Republic of Botswana who happened to have been a key founding member of the BDP; the youngest deputy commander of the army ÔÇô a position given to him by his late father; chief of the most populous tribe in the country which happens to be the BDP cash cow; the shrewd army commander who was bought into politics solely to re-engineer the BDP; and so forth. None of us would ever have such inbuilt advantages hence we should not be worried much about potential leaders. Let us be warned that should the BDP survive this crisis, Batswana are in for big trouble. We are never to see a better behaved BDP but rather brutal and blood-thirsty evil BDP intent on eliminating dissidents and opponents by hook and crook.

The party has been wounded and hurt and is itching for a fight to settle scores. Thus, the BDP might introduce ‘party profiling’ and all those who are not their members will be treated with utmost disdain, like second class citizens who deserve sub-standard services and odd jobs.

Thus, the quality of service extended to an individual will be determined by party affiliation so that people are compelled to take up the BDP membership in order to survive. Given the above scenario; that the future of Botswana is at stake, the only way out is to finish off the BDP. Other things such as the identity of the prospective regime, however essential will follow. It is however a mystery that other opposition parties are not aggressively harvesting members from the BDP. It is possible that many BDP members are fed up with the current leadership but equally loath the BMD leadership for ethical reasons. This group of people needs alternative political homes but it is frustrating that the Botswana National Front (BNF) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) do not appear like keen hosts.

Their underdog mentality is denying Batswana instant victory. Of course it is important that the BNF and the BCP are not seen as fighting the BMD for members decamping from the BDP specifically so that they do not jeopardize a possible coalition of opposition parties. However, they must become politically agile and assist the BMD to raid the BDP instead of appearing to be waiting for the BMD to invite them to the feasting.

The BNF and the BCP could participate in the game by acting like a whore who hops from one man to the other. They should befriend BDP members, dine and wine them at every little opportunity in order to promote divided loyalties in the BDP. Given the current feelings of distrust of one another within the party, BDP members would hate each other, use their DIS against each other, gang rape themselves or even kill each other.

Unless they have compassion for the BDP, the BNF must quickly get over its bickering over Duma Boko’s candidacy for the party’s president and participate, as a national calling, in the destruction of the BDP. At this stage, the BDP is actually vulnerable and fragile than its keepers and opponents think. It could only survive the current crisis by drawing on its policy of appeasement which has over the years cultivated a culture of greed and entitlement. Unfortunately, the party cannot satisfy all yet everyone in the BDP believes they are entitled for appeasement.
A policy of appeasement effectively means the BDP has to give to some and deny others such that if the BDP wishes to buy out its members from decamping to the BMD, it has to appease them, perhaps at the expense of the A-Team faction members who naturally feel more deserving. However, the A-Team members would feel betrayed, humiliated and unwanted by the very person they have protected so dearly. They would then conclude that their efforts are not being recognized and rewarded and they will likely bolt out.

The BDP hooligans also believe that they qualify for generous rewards for insulting defectors and BDP opponents and if they get nothing for their efforts, they will likely migrate in frustration. There is therefore no realistic balancing act. It is like having to kill a cockroach that sits on the scrotum.

The BDP is not going to weather the current storm and from now on the party is likely to produce more factions and splinter groups until it becomes a forgotten movement. They can conveniently turn to corporate executives to prop up and reconstruct their disfigured image but that as well will be an exercise in futility. These corporate executives are not BDP proper but just speculators, unapologetic charlatans who are ready to dump the BDP if it no longer guarantees them more money. Like people say, ‘it is a foolish fly that is buried with a corpse’. The national mood is for change not much about the BDP though, but its leader such that if all BDP members with the exception of Khama were to decamp to the BMD and have the BMD continue with erstwhile BDP policies, the nation would be better off.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.