Friday, July 19, 2024

The opposition is getting ahead of itself!

Listening to them speak, an impression emerges that our opposition collective, under their much vaunted umbrella formation, are, as a matter of fact, going to win the next General Election.

The truth though is that there is nothing inevitable about it.

No guarantees exist, at least not for now.

In fact, should they lose the 2014 election, the loss will be far greater than all the past ones, and recovery from therein almost impossible.

There is no running away from the fact that the coming about of the BMD has fatally weakened the ruling BDP, a party that for every day that passes by seems to be getting more united in voting itself out of power.

But it should not escape our attention that when all is said and done, BMD has also increased the number of opposition players as to make them even more fragmented and in some instances more vulnerable to a predatory BDP comeback.

Thus with the rise in the number of opposition parties, there also has come about an increase in the amount of aggregate hurdles they have to jump before they cross the Rubicon.

While they put on a bold face that they will contest the next election as one, undercurrents increasingly point to the fact that it may all go pear-shaped.

Something akin to an osmosis process is happening at the talks.

Information filtering from the negotiations indicates that, contrary to popular folklore, the parties are now discovering that there are more substantive issues that divide them than those uniting them.

Loose alliances and perennially changing allegiances that we hear characterize the negotiations, mean that perhaps we were too hasty in writing off the BDP.

In fact, we learn with astonishment that traditional cannibalistic and opportunistic political outlines are reappearing, replacing the mood of triumphalist euphoria that was so much a character of all the parties as they first walked into the negotiating room early in the year.

If they cannot even agree on the elementary principles what will be the situation be like when they ultimately have to tackle the more protracted and stickier issues?

For now, all we can tell these strange bedfellows is that for them time is running out.
The amount of scheming and jostling is perhaps only surpassed by the mistrust that exists between them.

If the negotiators cannot even agree on rudimentary matters like finding a formula to divide constituencies between the parties how then do we expect them to settle on who eventually assumes the potentially powerful position of the leader of their umbrella!

We had assumed the over ten year period that has elapsed since they fought each other in Palapye was sufficient enough to heal the rift between the BCP and BNF.

It turns out we were very wrong.

We had assumed the BMD was too hungry for power to want to use the traditionally stultifying rift between the BCP and BNF as an alibi for promoting itself.

Again, it turns out we had misread them. A party of thoroughgoing political strategists, the BMD seems to be exhibiting the hallmarks of winner ÔÇô takes- all.

We had thought the BNF had for far too long stared annihilation in the face for them to still believe that they could dislodge the BDP on their own.

How wrong we all were!
Despite the routing at the last elections, for them the nostalgic brother hangover seems to endure.

As for the BCP, it had become our belief that they had long internalized as a fact of life the truth that they were more a product of public relations and spin as to want to spurn a glorious opportunity to work with those other parties that had numbers behind them.

Tragically, it looks like the party is still grasped by an illusion that they can spin their way into power ÔÇô not altogether surprising when one remembers that the current BCP President started his own political career heading the public relations unit they now think holds the key to the elusive state power.

At the centre of the ongoing realignment is a certain politician called Kentse Rammidi.

A consummate politician by any standards, Rammidi recently resigned from the BDP where he was serving as Secretary General.

And from the look of things everybody ÔÇô BNF, BCP, BMD and surprise, surprise, the BPP want him to join them.

It is an irony of sorts that when historians ultimately write obituary of opposition cooperation in Botswana they will, with ease, trace its death to Rammidi’s resignation from the BDP.
Everybody seems to have at least one reason why Rammidi should join them.

The BNF want him because they say his Kanye North is their constituency.

BMD’s reason is mainly due to a sense of entitlement. For them there is only one road out of the BDP ÔÇô and it leads to their party.

The BCP body language is that Rammidi has a longstanding promise he once made them that were he to leave the BDP, it would be for them ÔÇô it is a claim the veracity of which we shall never know.

To be fair to them, the BPP are just nice little pretenders who would not want to be left out for lack of trying. The Francistown guys are just flowing with the wind.

The fact of the matter is that in each party’s desperation to attract Rammidi to themselves, the bigger picture which they tell us is the moral imperative to defeat the BDP has been left to go out through the window.

President Khama must be having the greatest moments of his life, receiving daily intelligence reports which all invariably highlight the ingrained instability that Rammidi has inadvertently sworn within the opposition ranks.

Unless they get their act together, it will not be long before the public, not for the first time, realises that perhaps the opposition collective has not been an altogether very reliable bearer of news about itself and its true potential.

It has promised too much but may in the end actually deliver too little.
In the meantime President Khama is not only smiling but also rearranging and reviving his troops.

Always a clear-sited strategist, he knows so well that come 2014, instead of the opposition vote being split into a traditional two horse of BNF and BCP, the new BMD will become a factor ÔÇô not for good but rather to give the ruling party an easy shoo-in, stemming from the three-way split divide.
I will not be surprised if after the 2014 elections there are only two opposition Members of Parliament instead of a grand coalition Government we have all along been promised.


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