Welcome back from the festive holidays and Compliments. I guess we are all looking forward to this election year where the contest for political power should be more robust and interesting given the political atmosphere that ensued in both the ruling and opposition parties towards end of last year. We saw factional battles in the ruling party escalated to another level by the entrance of Hon Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi to challenge her party boss on one hand and the filing of the court case by the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) against the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) on the other. Specifically in this conversation however, I will be looking at the cause(s) of the brouhaha currently playing itself in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). I am arguing that the accomplices who enabled the current internal strife in the party and by extension to the country are trying to find and muster some courage albeit unconvincingly to the neutrals and may be their own party members that they are the better devils after all.
An impression has been created rightly or wrongly that the BDP is at its current cross-hairs thanks to the misrule in all its manifestations by the immediate past President Lt Gen Ian Khama. Hon Venson-Moitoi could only be a cherry-on-top to the cross-hairs. I have agreed in the past and I still do so here and now that Lt Gen Khama’s administration has set us far behind in many respects than we should be. The current administration is trying all the tricks in the book to individually and collectively absolve itself from the political morass it ably created by commission or omission or better still, by both. A friend of mine told me the other day that what the current administration is doing is to transfer the bolope tagline from Lt Gen Khama to President Masisi with the possibility of the same outcomes. That is after President Masisi’s term, the BDP will revert back to the same situation with the same tagline carried over to whoever will be his successor.
The current administration is steadfast in detesting Rre Rapitsenyane’s question: how far they were from Lt Gen Khama when he went ‘rogue’ and did as he pleased right under their noses? In fact, they are seriously offended by this question to the extent that circumstances permitting, anybody who still dared to make reference to it would be ‘eliminated’ from this planet. Given the circumstances under which the question was asked, it required a simple diplomatic answer: that they were very close to Lt Gen Khama and religiously worshipped him to the status of a cult leader; that they own up to what has happened and that they have since realised that some things require some panel beating of some sort to straighten them up. An apology to Batswana as to what has happened would have sealed any re-visit to the question. For them to now assume the posture of holier-than-thou creates a fertile ground for the question to be constantly and consistently re-visited.
It is generally agreed that individuals who assume leadership positions should be those who have spent a longer period of time before a teacher or a lecturer such that they become endowed with the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong. It is no doubt that most of the individuals who sat closer to Lt Gen Khama have spent longer periods before a teacher or a lecturer to have unapologetically called him to order when in their own newly found consciences, he was no longer on the Road to Denmark. But they wilfully and consciously as adults chose to be the evergreen cheerleaders to what now to them and surprisingly so, appears to be wrongdoing to which they are now vigorously and frantically trying to be absolved from. I am reminded of the immediate past Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC) Gwede Mantashe who once said (and I am paraphrasing) that people should be aware of the cheerleaders who have the propensity of misleading their leaders to the extent of leading them to a river full of crocodiles. Once in the river, both the cheerleaders and the leader become the sumptuous meal to the crocodiles.
I am disappointingly surprised by Hon Unity Dow’s view in her piece (Botswana Guardian January 11, 2018) titled ‘Dow speaks: Time for Truth Telling’ when she says at paragraph 6 that ‘It is true that Batswana in general, and ministers in particular, lived under a cloud of fear and unease for the past 10 years…’ She continues at paragraph 10 by asking: ‘What is that he wants? Are we prepared to give it?’ Truth be told, Hon Dow is an accomplished individual whom I don’t expect to have ‘lived under a cloud of fear’ occasioned by Lt Gen Khama under any circumstances. But she un-characteristically allowed herself to work under such fear. Why did she not resign if indeed she was fearful? She cannot now and conveniently so ask us what Khama wants and if we are prepared to give him whatever he wants. As one of the cheerleaders, creators and enablers of Khama’s tormenting rule, she must be personally providing the answers to her questions by taking full and personal responsibility for the current status quo.
Former US President Abraham Lincoln said ‘Nearly all men can stand adversity but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.’ The BDPs character in relation to power has been over-tested overtime yet it still refuses to pass the adversity aspect probably due to its false belief emanating from its tagline ‘There is still no alternative.’ Because of this false belief, the BDP has dismally failed to run itself as a political party to for example enforce its Constitution without fear, favour or prejudice. The current brouhaha thereat in so far as the administration of Bulela ditswe – is the case in point. And relying on my friend’s argument that bolope has been transferred to the new administration, one can conclude that no action will be taken against its President for having demeaned with the contempt it deserves, the integrity of candidates who defeated his preferred ministers. If any other BDP member made such disparaging remarks on their fellow democrats, it is reasonably fair for one to conclude that disciplinary action and justifiably so, would be taken against them for bringing the party into disrepute. The Secretary General of the BDP has been under a barrage of allegations of voter trafficking with such voters allegedly paid to register to vote for him. But because these are very powerful individuals in the BDP, their undesirable actions are swept under the carpet.