Friday, September 22, 2023

UDC is like a feuding family

Many Batswana even those with no keen interest in the American rap music culture would still find resonance in a video recently released by that country’s superstar rapper, Jay-Z.
Family Feud is a captivating bare-it-all confessional by the internationally acclaimed Jay-Z.
In it he admits infidelity to his wife, Beyonce.
It is a story of watching the pain he caused in someone’s face. And also having to come up with ways heal himself in the process.
At the end of the video, Jay-Z makes a loaded statement: “Nobody wins when a family feuds.”
“I messed up a good thing,” says Jay-Z in one of his songs. 
“A man who don’t care about his family can’t be rich,” he adds in another line.
Family Feud is a poignant yet powerful human interest story of a man who from the outside the world has seemed like he had it all, while inside he was dying with a painfully barren emptiness of his soul ÔÇô fighting the demons from his past but also from his current existence as he battled to continue pleasing and satisfying the insatiable appetite of his legion of supporters who cannot have enough of his entertainment.
In the video, an emotionally downcast Beyonce is clad in royal blue, a colour that we have locally come to associate with the troubled Umbrella for Democratic Change.
In the recent past, Jay-Z and his equally successful wife have been publicly grappling with marital difficulties ÔÇô a painful consequence of infidelity on the part of the husband.
A discovery and later on a public acknowledgement that his mother was gay has also not been an easy experience for a man whose whole adulthood has been cloaked in artificial superstardom.
As part of her own healing process, Beyonce came up with a separate album dedicated to the experience.
Perhaps most touching of the album is a song entitled Sorry.
In what is a clear castigation of the husband, there is a line where she sings “He only want me when I’m not there/He better call a Becky with a good hair.” By Becky here, Beyonce is clearly referring to one of Jay-Z’s sidekicks.
During the holidays I had time to listen, study and reflect on the enigma that is Jay-Z the rapper, Jay-Z the mogul, Jay-Z the cultural icon, Jay-Z the father, Jay-Z the husband and most importantly Jay-Z the man.
The outcome has been instructive.
Most touching for me was his admission that he “messed up a good thing.”
Equally touching and rich in poignancy was his admission that “nobody wins when a family feuds.”
In the end one could not help but ultimately compare the existence of UDC here with what rollercoaster has been Jay-Z’s life across the Atlantic.
Like Jay-Z the UDC as a party has recently been embroiled in life-threatening internal feuds.
For the UDC, it was a short ride really.
It promised so much when it lasted, and in the end delivered so little.
The self-blame by Jay-Z that “I messed up a good thing” could aptly be applied to UDC leader Duma Boko.
And a pitiful cry by Beyonce that “He only want me when I’m not there” can very easily be applied to the estranged Ndaba Gaolathe who was slighted by Boko and the UDC and who since leaving their bode, both the UDC and Boko have been endlessly courting.
While for Jay-Z it would look like he’s finally getting his act together and that his apology to those he so mercilessly wronged and caused pain has been accepted, the same cannot be said about UDC leader, Duma Boko.
In fact for Boko the optics could not be more depressing.
Ndaba Gaolathe has flatly spurned all of Boko’s attempts at a reunion.
Even more worrying is the emerging picture where it would seem like Boko is no longer in charge of anything; not the UDC and increasingly not the Botswana National Front, his supposed power base.
UDC, we should never forget was created not as an instrument of power, but rather as a moral enterprise.
Yet over the past year, UDC has proved nothing short of a fiasco.
When Ndaba Gaolathe left  following the bad slighting he received from the partner to who he had stayed loyal, the party lost a respectable public authority.
That moral position is still to be filled.
Public doubts aplenty about the integrity of those that remain at the helm.
It gives little consolation that these leaders have not been working at allaying such well founded public grievances.
Even if one was to be sympathetic to them in the face of such a glaring void of seaworthiness, the mere fact that the grassroots followers are themselves  consumed by anarchy, wedded to chaos and lack of discipline ÔÇô and are forever at each other’s throat, leads one to conclude that giving the UDC a country to run would be too big a leap into darkness.
Scores of UDC adherents still believe that state power is within their reach.
We all know why; they’re banking on transforming the people’s plight ÔÇô anger, frustrations and disaffection  –  into electoral gains.
But then the same lot is also universally agreed that beyond that victory, it will take a miracle for the whole thing to work. The likelihood is that the entire edifice will immediately thereafter run aground ÔÇô paralysed by conflict and fight over positions.
“I messed up a good thing,” Jay-Z says in what is undoubtedly a painful self-reflection.
The UDC should do the same and tell the country how it happened that he too messed up such a good thing.
The Jay Z confessional exposed his vulnerabilities while at the same time gave him strengths.
It made him look human ÔÇô ordinary, shorn of all stardom, power, fame and money.
But most of all it also provided him with a therapy.
Boko should try the same; come down to earth, he humble, honest and most of all apologise to those he hurt, those that he wronged and those multitudes whose dreams he shattered.


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