The print media is awash with stories about the so-called defection of Olebile Gaborone from the BNF to the BDP.
This story warrants a brief comment. There are certain defections of comrades which are deeply regrettable because the departing comrades added value to the BNF.
The recent defection of Comrade Modubule who decamped from the BNF and joined the BMD is a case in point.
Gaborone cannot by any stretch of the imagination, be counted among those comrades. In response to his decision to jump ship we can confidently say, ‘good riddance’ without any qualms.
All comrades with but an elementary understanding of the ABC of BNF politics cannot shed tears when a BDP man who was either planted in their organization or simply parachuted by default to positions of leadership in the BNF chooses to go back to his political home.
I, for one, consistently argued that this man was BDP and probably will always be BDP both in his thinking and in terms of membership.
His cozy relationship with Ian Khama was enough evidence that he was in bed with the enemy and that this was a defection waiting to happen.
Readers will recall that shortly after he was elected into the BNF Central Committee there were some shocking revelations that he was still a card carrying BDP member. For that reason, the so-called defection is, strictly speaking, only happening inside the head of Gaborone because in reality he has always been BDP. Wearing BNF colours and shouting BNF slogans does not suffice in qualifying one to be a BNF member.
Tragically, the old BNF leadership saw nothing wrong in having renegade and quisling Olebile Gaborone doubling up as BDP agent and a so-called BNF Central Committee member – the party Vice President for that matter, of all positions.
At the infamous 2007 Molepolole congress, they celebrated the fact that he had defeated me as I contested for the same position. In fact they were defeating the cause of the struggle, not me. He laughs best who laughs last, so goes the English expression.
When the BNF politics are in your blood veins you don’t change colours like a chameleon. You remain steadfast and unflinching in your commitment to the cause of liberation and cling to it with the tenacity of a bulldog. Indeed the old BNF leadership are the ones who must shoulder the lion’s share of the blame for these political parachutes and the current leadership must learn lessons from those blunders. The old leadership reckoned that their grip on power was assured if they surrounded themselves with newcomers who would never raise a figure against the terrible blunders they made.
They chose to harass, sideline and even expel time-tested comrades because they could not stomach comradely criticism for the many mistakes they were making. Now the short-sightedness of this strategy is clear for all to see. In the wake contradictions within the party these political greenhorns are always the first to quit and go back where they really belong.
BNF policies are clear on how people are supposed to rise to positions of leadership if they are newcomers from other parties. What we are saying in simple language is that it was a massive mistake on the part of the old leadership to allow a BDP member like Gaborone to rise to the position of the BNF Vice President in the first place, because he never met the requirements for that position.
Once he had been allowed to parachute into one of the highest position on the BNF Central Committee the wrong signal was sent to comrades in his constituency that he was fit to represent them in parliament.
So once again he parachuted into a parliamentary position under the party ticket. He never qualified to be BNF MP. In parliament he articulated ideas which, to all intents and purposes, were congruent with those of the BDP. Having parachuted to parliament as Vice President he was ready to parachute into yet another position which he again never deserved ÔÇô Leader of the Opposition in parliament.
His last daring effort was to try and parachute into the leadership of the BNF and this time BNF members correctly decided to stop him in his tracks.
On the other hand, the BDP have every reason to celebrate for having planted their man into the highest echelons of the decision-making structures of the BNF.
In the past an organized BNF infiltrated BDP structures, today the opposite is the case. We have lost our guard. One would not be surprised if Gaborone is handsomely rewarded for having had the audacity to infiltrate the structures of the BNF with such impunity.
He quits because his next nefarious machinations to become BNF leader failed.
If he had successfully landed the post of BNF President he would have attempted to knock the final nail into the coffin of the then ailing BNF. While the BNF comrades in his constituency must shoulder part of the blame for failing to exercise enough political vigilance by endorsing him as their parliamentary candidate the general BNF rank and file at the last congress must be commended for rejecting him when he tried to contest for the BNF Presidency.
However, the mistake committed by comrades in the constituency is understandable because once the leadership endorsed him as party Vice President they were wrongly signaling to them that he is fit to be their MP. The finger of blame must go to those who initially allowed him to be BNF Vice President ÔÇô by-passing comrades steeped in party politics.
Many people always use their positions on the Central Committees as a stepping stone to secure lucrative parliamentary positions. We are however pleased that BNF comrades in the constituency have decided to stay put which increases the chance of the BNF maintaining its grip on the constituency even though a lot of work needs to be done for this to happen.
The BNF leadership must act swiftly and try some damage limitation campaigns in the constituency. The single most important lesson to the party and its leadership is to exercise greater political vigilance and follow party policies to guard against such political parachutes in future.
November 6, 2010