Media reports indicate that President Ian Khama has embarked on a rigorous ‘Save BDP’ campaign. It is said he wants to leave the BDP in an attractive status. He vows to make sure the opposition UDC does not win the 2019 general elections. He is also reported to be worried about his party’s declining popularity. His Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane was last week waxing lyrical about Khama’s mission to restore the party’s attractiveness before he retires from the presidency in 2018. According to Ntuane, as part of Khama’s ambition to resuscitate the BDP from its comma, the president has already presided on over 41 mobilisation activities across the country. These activities include meetings with the Central Committee, regional tours, branch visits and other team building functions. Well I guess they forgot to mention his village walkabouts where he goes around aimlessly shaking hands with mesmerised rural dwellers and doling out blankets here and there. He has graced all these events in a space of just 10 months. Let us state from the onset, there is absolutely nothing wrong with all the aforementioned activities and initiatives. A leader of any political party ought to be in the forefront of growing his party. Every leader has to aspire to grow his organisation and work towards leaving an intact and attractive organisation by the time they step down. A leader of any political party must work hard to ensure victory over opponents. For all those efforts, Khama gets a high-five from me. Ntuane too is right to celebrate his leader’s efforts.
He is behaving like any normal activist would do to celebrate the arrival of defectors and new members into their fold. Ntuane says Khama is leading from the front. Like I have already mentioned, a leader ought to lead from the front. Leadership was designed that way. Nothing MacGyver about it. Ntuane is also having a good laugh about the infighting that has engulfed the opposition, especially the bickering inside the BMD. That is the nature of politics; you rejoice in the misery of your opponents. Having declared that I have no qualms with Khama’s ambitious mission to revive the BDP, I do however have a big problem in the realisation all he cares about is his party and not necessarily the country at large. We need to be worried that the BDP can proudly tell us about Khama’s ambition for his party while there is no ambition to show about his country.
It is sad that while he has traversed the country to mobilise fortunes for his party, Khama has not extended the same vigour towards selling the country to the world. In a record 10 months, Khama has attended 41 partisan activities while he has not attended a single United Nations (UN) meeting in his 18 years as President of our republic. When it comes to selling his party to Batswana, Khama leads from the front whereas he observes from behind when it comes to selling the country to the world. Khama finds nothing wrong with delegating a Cabinet minister to AU and UN meetings while he presides over BDP activities locally. Khama would rather fly to France to attend entertainment air shows or the US to attend Conservation International meetings, in his personal capacity, yet he has no time to embark on those long flights to represent his nation abroad. I just don’t understand Khama and his phobia towards meeting his counterparts at international level. Khama is eloquent and fluent in English and as such it cannot be said he avoids being embarrassed during conversations with leaders such as Barack Obama. Surprisingly, even South African President Jacob Zuma whose command of the Queen’s language is so wanting, has no problem dialoguing with international leaders. Zuma is often reported attending international summits and rubbing shoulders with world leaders, thus selling his country to the world. Still, Zuma makes time to grace his party, the ANC, campaigns and activities. When there is a crisis or calamity of any sort, Zuma addresses his nation through televised statements or press conferences, something that is unheard of in Khama’s presidency. Khama should not only strive to be remembered as the guy who squandered the BDP’s public trust and regained it on the eve of his departure. He should work towards a legacy of being a leader who left the country in good governance and sound economy. That he can only achieve if he divides his energy between running his party and running the country. A united BDP with a divided Botswana will be bad for Khama’s legacy.
A rich BDP with a poor Botswana will not make Khama a great president. It will be pointless, shameful even, of Khama to fight to leave office with BDP members in sound economic status (appointment to positions of power as suggested by BDP youth league) while the rest of the population does not benefit in the dispensation. Khama should not take pride in recruiting people to his party through enticement schemes such as CEDA loans. My final plea to Khama is for him to strive to leave both the BDP and the country in an attractive state. I believe I am not asking for too much.
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