Thursday, January 21, 2021

Thumbs up to the BDP…but questions remain

This week, the ruling party Central Committee withdrew its earlier decision to recall Member of Parliament for Tonota, Pono Moatlhodi.

Though they could not say it in so many words, the party was succumbing to public pressure to rescind what was an impulsive decision that was no doubt made without due regard for the implications of the will of the people.
The issue was also beginning to cause divisions within the party.
We give credit to the leadership of the BDP for swallowing their pride and bending to the will and wishes of the people.

That is true democracy at play.
As we have said before, a responsive government is the best that ordinary voters can hope for in a democracy.
A flexible party that bends to the calls of the people, including those that are not its members is all we can ask for under the circumstances.
The decision to recall Moatlhodi was a terrible one, taken and implemented without any semblance of due regard for the wishes of the electorate.
In a very literal way it was a slap in the face for those people who had gone to the BDP primary elections in large numbers to elect a candidate of their choice.

To make matters worse, there is no evidence to suggest that prior to the Central Committee taking its hasty and unprecedented decision, this same electorate, or at least their representatives, were favoured with the decency to consult them on what offences Moatlhodi had committed.

While we have no wish to exonerate Moatlhodi from the responsibilities of upholding the collective decisions of the organisations to which he belongs, we remain abnormally apprehensive at the fast pace at which inner party democracy is dying inside the BDP.
We are worried by the encroaching culture of intolerance and exclusivity.
Zimbabwe is where it is today because from early on, immediately after independence, it became almost an offence to critcise the leadership in that country.
That, of course, did not happen overnight.

As a cumulative, the leadership went on from one stage to another until such a time that they felt that their personal interests were no longer different or separate from those of the State.
Robert Mugabe, the crazy maniac who is today holding his country at ransom, did not, for goodness sake, start off as an evil dictator that he is today.
He started off as a conciliatory figure that went out of his way to allay all fears of retribution on the racist regime that had inflicted so much personal sorrow on him directly and his people in general.

In fact, immediately after independence, Mugabe, who today is not so much different from the folklore one-eyed monster that eats own children, went out of his way to restrain his charges by insisting on them to be accommodative of their yesteryear enemies.

Unbeknown to them, the monster was created by the people closest to him with deliberate collaborative contribution of the party that he led.
Because no one dared to raise a finger against the creeping excesses the monster grew and grew.

Over time, out of feeding on its children, the monster outgrew its lair, and went on to start feeding on other people’s children.
As we speak, a whole nation made up of close to 15 million is in chains, imprisoned by a former liberation hero turned monster.

Mugabe has become a monster because, from early on, the Zimbabweans made it a blasphemy to criticise him.
We use this analogy to illustrate the strikingly parallel similarities between the Zimbabwe of immediate post-independence era and the Botswana of today under President Ian Khama.
First and foremost, Khama is a politician and should never, under any circumstances, be exempted from the rigorous rules that are used to measure other politicians.

How could it be that the founding fathers that started the party that he is leading today were openly criticised, but when he is subjected to the same rules his lackeys moan and blush!

Without going into the merits of the reasons behind the decision to recall Moatlhodi, given the chaotic recent history of factional fighting and the prevailing animosity among its members, the BDP Central Committee should have done a lot to take stock of itself before taking this drastic and potentially self-embarrassing decision.
Given events of the past few months, we have no option but to question not only the judgment but also the motives of the people surrounding and advising President Ian Khama.
This brings us to the final point: President Ian Khama should seriously consider broadening the pool of people on whom he relies when he has to take difficult decisions that have a bearing on the direction of this country.
We are not calling on him to change his friends.

That is a personal matter that is of no interest or consequence to us.
All that matters to us is that he should start consulting more credible people before taking important decisions that have the potential to undermine his judgment as State President.


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