Lack Of Leadership Direction Let The UDC Coalition Down
I reject the notion that the current political conundrum ravaging the opposition is a problem caused by Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The problem needs to be understood from a broader perspective, and that is the lack of political leadership by Duma Boko and the BNF.
I introduce the topic in this manner because political activists have branded reductively as ‘The BMD Mess’ and have continued to pour scorn on the BMD for what I see as a larger split of the UDC coalition. It is common knowledge that an apparent attack on democratic values at the BMD has been treated with lesser devotion and contemptuously derided as an affliction that is specific to the organisation (BMD). The apportioned blame on the BMD is relevant because it had a duty to manage issues in a manner that preserves the face of opposition but it is a lesser important responsibility than the overarching leadership role expected from the UDC.
This position is inspired by reality that it is UDC that contests for elections. Their failure to observe the surging danger posed by an affiliate was clearly a misunderstanding of this fact. The second misunderstanding is the conjuration for a coalitions based on collectivism and solidarity. The model adopted by the UDC is an alliance where a single political party was formed to which affiliates align. The main objective of a coalition is to house fortress of power resources in a manner that provides the voter a formidable alternative. These resources include discursive, institutional, financial, associational, social and political power resources whose preservation is a critical component of coalition proficiency and relevance. The potent threat to coalitions is modelled around composing means to disperse these resources and in the case of UDC most of these resources are eccentric and domicile with affiliates. At the centre is a party committee and a constitution whose roles are only institutional and serve the purpose of existential power. The critical resources that indulge in the day to day political work of the UDC are located within affiliates and their subversion spelt doom for its viability.
It was always inevitable that the danger to UDC would manifest as an attack on an affiliate. It is therefore a compelling responsibility for the leader of opposition to rise beyond the imprudent assumption that the BMD mess was outside his jurisdiction. In all definitions of leadership, influence is a key component. The scapegoat of constitutional limitations was shallow and can never convince anyone that it didn’t matter to use influence as the leader of the coalition to restore stability and maintain opposition’s credibility. If he doesn’t possess such influence then he is a misfit to be leading a coalition. It could not be simpler for enemies of progress to target an affiliate within the coalition when leadership remained latent and parochial. This orchestration was successful, not because the BMD was weak, but because there was a clear misunderstanding that the BMD problem would not spill over to the coalition. In fact, the reality is, not the BMD but the UDC itself was the target of enemies of opposition unity. Failure to provide political direction of the coalition dealt a major blow on worth of coalitions as healthy models for attaining state power.
Progressive organisations that take stability seriously build political models to detect, mediate, deter and galvanise the coalitions against potential jeopardy. These models should be able to regulate formal and informal relationships within the organisation and preserve its supremacy whilst mediating impasses and qualms. It appears though the UDC, unfortunately was formulated devoid of careful analysis of potential dangers that may ravage and collapse it. This reason accounts for the failure to detect the potential danger posed by destabilisation of affiliates and the preposterous ‘verdict’ over the impasse within the BMD. The verdict was a mere product of lazy and lacklustre thought from men who aspire to lead the nation. It also expressively convoluted in unnecessary trifles that assumed the nature of a court ruling than a relationship management mediation. It also manifests in the leadership’s failure to act swiftly to prioritize resolution of the matter that battered the image of UDC in a manner that will be intricate to restore. This represents a serious deficiency of leadership at UDC. It not only demonstrates this lack, but acutely epitomises indolent imagination and contemptible lack of ambition on the part of those that sought to convince the nation that the coalition is sustainable. It is exceedingly reckless and dismisses the public confidence that the electorate bequeathed the coalition which harbours the ambition of attaining state power.
The simple Aristotelian notion that defines man as a rational animal suggests that actions on is based on rational choices. We accept that the massive fervour and validation of a united opposition is common cause and resonated well with the aspirations of the nation. Everyone therefore, save for fawners and minions of the ruling party, rallied behind it. The UDC is not an accidental formation that surprised people by heaving from nowhere. It is not a product of luck or some inadvertent chance. It is a creation of considerate and imaginative thought based on conscience and most critically the uncontested rationale of a united opposition. It therefore beats this logic that following its formation, the leader would slumber and allow paralysis on one of its affiliates. The result is the catastrophic and undoubtedly irreversible defection of activists to form another political movement. The opposition will struggle to find redemption and mount a convincing onslaught on the moribund BDP. As though it is not enough the same leader who has demonstrated lack of acumen to keep the coalition intact launches scathing attacks on the defecting activists.
This defeat attempts of making a case for coalition politics through accretion power resources under one umbrella. People should never forget that it is the UDC and not the BMD that is presented as the political alternative. Its leadership has duty to demonstrate leadership qualities, particularly in organisational management beyond the rhetoric of opposition unity. The repetitious notion of ‘avoiding voter splitting’ is equitable to mob psychology when such justification is devoid of mature demonstration of infallible leadership. The UDC should disillusion itself from the deception that it is worthy of vote despite their shoddy showing of leadership qualities. What is even shoddier is the perfunctory attitude displayed by the leader who merely for no cause whatsoever, forsook his duty to rise to the occasion to restore the face of the coalition. The issue is if leadership is not provided unity will be repeatedly battered up and power resources redistributed back to the political sphere. Time and more resources will be wasted trying to recompile and rehabilitate the UDC.
I brazenly hold that such failure should not be taken flippantly, it is a grave indictment on leadership qualities and the level of seriousness Duma Boko accords this project. Reasons are simple, whilst affiliates retain some level of independence, the duty to prove viability of coalitions rests on the UDC leadership more than its affiliates. Shifting the blame to affiliates does not free the UDC of the duty to remain a viable alternative. This duty is sacrosanct and abdicating it is deplorable and must be condemned in the stoutest irreverence. It not only scores negatively against his potential as a leader but more imperatively weighs severely on the political currency of opposition politics. It also erodes the trustworthiness of coalitions as models of governance, the same objective for which they were formed.
It should amass disgrace on the part of leadership that which they convinced 53 percent of electorate cannot work under their headship. Each Motswana must imagine what would have happened if the UDC let its affiliate collapse whilst it was in government because it would not have mattered, as it doesn’t, that they choose to label their internal problems on BMD! This would have obviously plunged the country into unnecessary chaos, but only because of failing to appreciate that coalitions matters much when affiliates are intact.
Keaoleboga “Ras Manxo Speaking” Dipogiso