Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Umbrella can still work. Infact it has to work

The BDP supporters must be smiling like Cheshire cats. I won’t be shocked if President Ian Khama starts to be a customer of Liquorama because this calls for celebration. He must be a happy man.

Understandably so. Here we had what appeared like a united opposition which looked set to topple the BDP from power but now it looks we have been sold a dummy.

Get me right, I support the Umbrella. I yearn for change of government and I know the only peaceful way to kick out President Khama from the State House in 2014 is if opposition parties work together. The question is, are our opposition parties ready to work together? I stand to be corrected but the way I see it, opposition unity remains a farfetched dream. This is what pains some of us who had pinned our hopes in the Umbrella party. This is exactly what I have no doubt makes President Ian Khama the happiest guy right now. You see, it’s not like opposition unity is untenable or unachievable. No, rather it is the selfishness and the hard-headedness of some opposition politicians that will see the Umbrella failing to unfold.

I had a discussion with some people from opposition parties and I have come to a conclusion their unreasonableness is going to make it difficult for our opposition parties to work together. I reiterated my position on the issue of incumbency and I had hoped they will give me a sound explanation for their not supporting incumbency as a prerequisite for fielding representatives at the elections. My friends are of the view BMD only wants incumbency as it will work to their party’s advantage. According to them, the BMD is the only opposition party that has the potential to attract more MP’s in the run up to the general elections in 2014. My friends are funny. No, they are stupid. They say they do not want a new government that will be made up of the same faces that currently hold the fort for the BDP. This therefore means the BMD should not recruit more BDP MP’s.

And I say this what will lead to the collapse of opposition unity talks. I do not see the BMD agreeing to such an arrangement. The BNF and BCP on the other hand believe constituencies must be distributed according to how their parties performed in the last general elections. They do not even appreciate the fact that the current BMD MP’s won elections. Their bone of contention is, these MP’s won elections under the BDP ticket. Their strength as BMD has never been tested. The BNF and BCP are very right on this one. Though true, I’m afraid to say this truth is going to contribute immensely to the collapse of the negotiations. Until and unless the BNF and the BCP treat the BMD as an equal partner in the talks, I see the whole negotiations as a waste of time.

It’s really painful to say this but perhaps the BMD should go it all alone. Not because they can beat the BDP on their own. Not because they don’t want to work with other parties. They should walk out because other parties do not seem to appreciate their importance in the Umbrella party. The BNF and the BCP attach so much stigma to everything and everyone who has been BDP. To them, the BMD is just another version of the BDP. This line of thinking will surely contribute to the collapse of the negotiations.

At times I ask myself if the BNF and BCP feel they are not attractive to BDP members so much that they think the only party which stands to benefit from BDP defections is the BMD. What makes them feel they do not stand to benefit from incumbency? I will never understand our politicians. They told us that their only goal is to topple the BDP. They made us believe they are not jealous when other opposition parties grow because the growth of any opposition party works to the advantage of all opposition parties. If this Umbrella thing was really a genuine project not meant for personal emolument and full of selfish motives, we would not be having problems with allocation of constituencies. I still maintain that it sounds foolish to me for any of the participating parties to push to have their representative where already seats another opposition MP. Didn’t they say they are now coming together as one? Didn’t they say all they want is to have the opposition take over from the BDP? Now why should they want to replace an already seating opposition MP with another opposition candidate? It appears to me some of these parties just want to use others as a ladder to power. I really don’t think the issue of incumbency should have been such a hot potato at the talks. I would understand if heads got scratched in the allocation of constituencies currently under the BDP. But even then, I still don’t see why that should be a problem unless our opposition politicians were lying when they told us they have a common goal of un-seating the ruling BDP.

When it comes to those constituencies currently under the BDP that is when these ‘old’ parties can justify their representation through t their performances in the last general elections. This they should do bearing in mind that the BMD was not represented in the last elections but has since become an equal partner in the unity project. I will argue until my voice gets hoarse that the BCP’S Vain Mamela should not replace the BMD’s Wynter Mmolotsi in Francistown South. I will also fight fiercely if the BMD or BNF tried to lay claim to Gaborone West North, currently held by Robert Masitara. It is straight forward that this constituency must be given to the BCP’s Anna Motlhagodi.

I can justify why Motlhagodi deserves this constituency but I can never justify why Nehemiah Modubule should not be allowed to remain in Lobatse.

Perhaps I should conclude by urging all those tasked with the negotiations to do so in good faith and no hidden agendas. They should not even allow their judgment to be clouded by what I write or what Gaolathe Ndaba writes. They should not even listen to what Phagenyane Phage says. This project is bigger than our self interests and observations. We do not write to bring animosity amongst the negotiating parties. We only write to help them look at other things differently or from a different perspective. They should not use what we write to call off the talks. Rather they should use what we write to prove us wrong. Personal egos should be set aside. Calmness and sincerity should prevail if these talks are to yield anything positive. Otherwise Batswana will never forgive our opposition leaders should this Umbrella turn out to be a hollow dream. If ever there is an opportune time for our opposition to have a taste of government, the time is now. Ian Khama has made it easy for them. Only their selfishness and stupidity will stop them from taking over power from the BDP.

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