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The End of An Era?

With the ouster of Mugabe, Zimbabweans have claimed only one scalp of the many-headed Hydra. BENSON C SAILI explains.

On November 15th 2017, The New York  Times asked Victor Matemadanda, secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Association,  to provide context as to how Emmerson Mnangagwa came to be known as “Ngwenya”, or  “The Crocodile” in English.  A plethora of theories have been bandied about in relation to how the hair-raising label came about, but Matemadanda would not be drawn into a labouring of the whys and wherefores. Instead, he cut straight to the chase.

“A crocodile patiently waits for his target, pretending to be a rock,” Matemadanda  said. “At times you think he doesn’t react, or doesn’t have any solution to what is happening. He doesn’t show irritation until the optimal moment and then he strikes. And when he does, he doesn’t miss his target!”

That day, Ngwenya  had been just under ten days in self-imposed exile in Mzansi and Robert Mugabe was yet to give up the ghost politically although he was long past  his expiry date. But one does not need to be a rocket scientist to get the  pith of what Matemandanda was intimating – that whatever was in the offing in Mugabe’s horoscope was entirely  the work of  the Crocodile. Mnangagwa schemed the palace coup and decided to stage it at a time when Mugabe was most vulnerable – jaded and enfeebled by old age, drowsy all the time even in meetings he himself chaired, stumbling and faltering with every step, his incorrigible kids openly flaunting the family’s ill-gotten wealth, and insinuations of a dynast in the making with his wayward and scandal-prone wife having publicly declared her wish to succeed him.


The axing of Emmerson Mnangagwa by Robert Mugabe arose at the urging of “Gucci” Grace, as she has been dubbed lately thanks to her exhibitionist, bling-bling shopping sprees. At a public gathering, Grace accused Mnangagwa of “fanning factionalism” and for being the architect of a foiled coup wayback in 1980. These accusations are not exactly a figment of Dis-Grace’s imagination: there’s a modicum of veracity to them.

To begin with, rumours having been swirling for some time that there’s a Shona versus Kalanga divide in the upper echelons of both the executive and the military, a scenario Grace was trying to exploit in her hare-brained bid for the vice-presidency. The Kalangas are the largest sub-group of the broader Shona ethnic group and Mnangagwa is a true-blue Kalanga. The tribe to which Mugabe belongs, the Zezurus, constitute one of the smallest of the Shona group, which is made up of the Kalanga (southern Shona); Rozvis; Zezurus (central Shona); and Korekores (northern Shona) in the main.

The attempted coup that Grace alluded to is not that well-known, perhaps because it occurred just shortly after Zimbabwe’s independence and to publicise it at the time would have cast the Mugabe government as fragile, weak-kneed, and unpopular when it had hardly set sail. It is indeed curious why Grace omitted to  make reference to the most serious attempt to oust Mugabe pre-2017 – the abortive coup of  2007. The coup was supposed to take place between  June 2 and June 15 2007. About 400 soldiers and up to 10 high-ranking army officers were enlisted in the attempted putsch. The plotters were not tried in a court of law but seven ring leaders, who included the alleged mastermind, Albert Matapo, were detained for seven years.

Now hear this: the seven detainees told their captors that the person who was actually behind the coup attempt was Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was then Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities, a post  he thought demeaned him as  a man of solid  revolutionary credentials.  It was he who would have become president had the coup succeeded: all others were no more than   foot soldiers.

Yet  Mnangagwa, and three other senior army officers,  namely Lt. Colonel Ben Ncube, Major-General Engelbert Rugele, and Vice Marshall Elson Moyo, were  not bothered at all: they remained in the army, which goes to show how powerful  Mnangagwa was.  Mnangagwa was untouchable even to Mugabe himself.  It stands to reason that the treasonous act would never have come to trial for fear of the beans the seven would have spilt about  Mnangagwa.


Addressing a rally after firing his seniormost vice president, Robert Mugabe said he sacked him for plotting to unseat him from the day he elevated him in 2014. Mugabe did not go into particulars but it is clear he did get wind of the plot that finally toppled him. The mistake he committed, which he will always rue, was to tread softly in his reaction when he should have gone for the jugular straightaway. Contrary to popular belief, the coup was not hatched in the wake of Mnangagwa’s dismissal.  According to the highly regarded, London-based newsletter Africa Confidential, the coup was devised several weeks prior. The dismissal of Mnangagwa simply served to fast-track it.

The coup was scheduled for December 2017, just before the ZANU-PF conference, where it was feared by the Mnangagwa faction, who called themselves Team Lacoste, that members of the Grace Mugabe faction, known as G-40, would ascend to plum party positions at the expense of Team Lacoste and therefore consign it to oblivion.

Before moving to execute the coup, Team Lacoste took soundings with three highly influential nations – China, the US, and  South Africa. General Chiwenga in fact travelled to China on November 5 and met that country’s defence minister Chang Wanquan to secure the Red Dragon’s blessings. The alarm bell Chiwenga sounded before China was that the imminent wholesale purge of the Lacoste Team  at the forthcoming December conference was certain to compromise China’s interests in the country as the G40 were populists who wanted to brandish the anti-China card as a rallying cry.

“In South Africa, Mnangagwa, Chiwenga and Chris Mutsavangwa, the 'war veterans' leader and former ambassador to China, talked to local security officials about the implications of their military action in Harare,” said Africa Confidential. “We understand they were given assurances of non-intervention by South Africa so long as the action didn't spill over the borders and remained 'broadly constitutional'. Chiwenga and Mnangagwa promised to find a way to avoid the action being stigmatised as a military coup by the African Union or the Southern African Development Community.”

Citing their own source, City Press, a leading South African Sunday paper,  also reported that,  “The Chinese were keen on knowing who would take over. When the diplomat informed them that it was Mnangagwa, they were thrilled as he is an old friend of China. He did his military training there.” As for the US being in on the plot too, the same City Press source said,  “I can confirm that at this stage, the United States was informed, but played no role in the plan.”

Chiwenga had undertaken the overseas journey on the pretext that he was following up on his routine medicals. During his absence, Mugabe’s informants disclosed to him the true nature of Chiwenga’s mission, whereupon Mugabe issued instructions to the effect that Chiwenga be arrested immediately upon his return. A tipped-off  Chiwenga returned not via the main airport in Harare  but via a little-used aerodrome, where military intelligence turned up in full force  to thwart any attempt on the part of the police to lead him away in  handcuffs. 


It is said behind every successful man there is a woman. But women have also been the downfall of many a successful man. The voluptuous Delilah led to strongman Samson’s eventual demise. The Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha expired in the arms of a prostitute after she fed him a poisoned apple in the afterglow of a torrid round of lovemaking. The architect of Mugabe’s downfall was none other than the ultra-ambitious and incredibly naive Grace Mugabe, who nudged her almost senile husband to alienate himself from the military top brass.

Mnangagwa was the Chairman  of the Joint  Operations Command, which   comprised of the  heads of the Zimbabwean Defence Force, the Zimbabwean National  Army, the Zimbabwe Air Force, the Zimbabwe Police, the Zimbabwe Prison Service, the Central Intelligence Organisation, the Minister of Defence, and the Governor of the Central Bank. In theory, he was more powerful than even Mugabe himself. To toy with him was therefore suicidal. Mugabe himself was aware how powerful and even indispensable Mnangagwa was, the reason why despite his glaring sins of yesteryears, Mugabe just could not give him the marching orders. 

That said, is Mnangagwa the best man to lead Zimbabwe from Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained? Was  the euphoria that we saw on the small silver screen  warranted or it was pure  delirium? Looking at Ngwenya’s CV, one is inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. When about 20,000 Ndebeles were massacred by the  North Korean trained 5th Brigade, Mugabe’s professional thugs,  in 1980, Mnangagwa  is said to have been  the man who captained them.

But  is that really true? For at the time,  Mnangagwa was Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, not Defence Minister, Home Affairs Minister, or even Deputy Prime Minister. The Defence Minister in fact was Mugabe himself. So it is a bit of stretch to suggest that Mnangagwa  superintended over the Matabeleland  atrocities. If anybody is to blame for the carnage, it is Robert Mugabe himself,  who was at once Head of State and Defence Minister at the time. The reason Mugabe was seen to be mollycoddling Mnangagwa may be attributed in the main to Mnangagwa’s comprehensive knowledge of where Mugabe’s haul of bodies are buried.

In 1995 and 1996, Mnangagwa acted as Finance Minister. During that very brief period, he gained a reputation as the best Finance Minister the country had ever had. This was not cheap rhetoric: it was the unanimous  view of the senior technocrats who worked under him, including the ranks of the intelligentsia who majored in economics. So before we dismiss him as a scatterbrain who attained his ne plus ultra as a freedom fighter, let us cut him slack as he has reportedly what it takes to exhume his country from the economic grave and give it a new and sustainable lease of life. In any case, he’s a trained barrister – a lawyer. He’s no dunderhead at all.


Yet the ouster of Robert Mugabe must be seen in its proper context. It was not an Arab Spring kind of upheaval.  And it was not conducted in the interests of the body politic. It all was about schisms in the ranks of the ZANU-PF. The break-dancing and ululating citizenry who thronged the streets on November 21st to celebrate the departure of Mugabe were swept up in the hysteria of the moment without seriously analysing the causal factors and the politics at play. They celebrated change for its own sake without interrogating the bona fides of the forces that precipitated that change.

Look, the army Generals who put Mugabe to the sword were the same ones responsible for the death of about 200 people during the 2008 elections. It was they who presided over the closed doors rigging of the elections and it was they who issued that unforgettable barbarous threat – that they would never allow a person who did not have liberation credentials to ascend to the highest office in the land. But when their own vested political and economic interests were threatened, they did not hesitate to pounce and show Mugabe the door. Their own individual welfare was primary, whereas the welfare of the nation at large was secondary, if not irrelevant altogether.

As for the opposition coalition, they too have been played big time as pawns of the country’s military-industrial complex. It’s like they have blinkers over their eyes or are so myopic they cannot see beyond the points of their noises. By throwing in their lot behind the overthrow of Mugabe, all they have done is simply consolidate military rule behind the scenes and give legitimacy to a unconstitutional change of a constitutionally  elected president. What they have done is not to midwife a new era of a democratic dispensation but to aid and abet the chicanery of ZANU-PF. 

True, Mugabe has rode into the sunset of political history but only  one of the multiple heads of  the Lernaean Hydra  has been cut: the rest remain in place and unscathed. With such a creature at the helm, what guarantees are there that what happened in 2008 won’t be replicated in July 2018?

In 1991, Zambians dismissed Kenneth Kaunda, who wasn’t half a despot as Robert Mugabe, from a further conduct of their affairs. They celebrated as if they had just won self-rule from a draconian imperial power or toppled an Idi Amin or Jean Bedel Bokassa. It did not take more than five years for them to wish Kaunda had continued to rule for another 27 more years so pathetic was the regime that took over and in full conformity with  the parameters of an archetypal democracy for that matter. Politics, folks, is very fickle. What a dirty game it is!

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The case for Botswana to ratify the ACDEG

6th March 2023

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) is the most comprehensive dataset measuring African governance performance through a wide range of 81 indicators under the categories of Security & Rule of law, Participation, Rights & Inclusion, Foundations of Economic Opportunity, and Human Development. It employs scores, expressed out of 100, which quantify a country’s performance for each governance measure and ranks, out of 54, in relation to the 54 African countries.

The 2022 IIAG Overall Governance score is 68.1 and ranks Botswana at number 5 in Africa. In 2019 Botswana was ranked 2nd with an overall score of 73.3. That is a sharp decline. The best-performing countries are Mauritius, Seychelles, Tunisia, and Cabo Verde, in that order. A glance at the categories shows that Botswana is in third place in Africa on the Security and Rule of law; ninth in the Participation, Rights & Inclusion Category – indicating a shrinking participatory environment; eighth for Foundations of Economic Opportunity category; and fifth in the Human Development category.

The 2022 IIAG comes to a sweeping conclusion: Governments are less accountable and transparent in 2021 than at any time over the last ten years; Higher GDP does not necessarily indicate better governance; rule of law has weakened in the last five years; Democratic backsliding in Africa has accelerated since 2018; Major restrictions on freedom of association and assembly since 2012. Botswana is no exception to these conclusions. In fact, a look at the 10-year trend shows a major challenge. While Botswana remains in the top 5 of the best-performing countries in Africa, there are signs of decline, especially in the categories of Human Development and Security & Rule of law.

I start with this picture to show that Botswana is no longer the poster child for democracy, good governance, and commitment to the rule of law that it once was. In fact, to use the term used in the IIAG, Botswana is experiencing a “democratic backsliding.”

The 2021 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) had Botswana at 55/ 100, the lowest ever score recorded by Botswana dethroning Botswana as Africa’s least corrupt country to a distant third place, where it was in 2019 with a CPI of 61/100. (A score closer to zero denotes the worst corrupt and a score closer to 100 indicates the least corrupt country). The concern here is that while other African states are advancing in their transparency and accountability indexes, Botswana is backsliding.

The Transitional National Development Plan lists participatory democracy, the rule of law, transparency, and accountability, as key “deliverables,” if you may call those deliverables. If indeed Botswana is committed to these principles, she must ratify the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance (ACDEG).

The African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance is the African Union’s principal policy document for advancing democratic governance in African Union member states. The ACDEG embodies the continent’s commitment to a democratic agenda and set the standards upon which countries agreed to be held accountable. The Charter was adopted in 2007 and came into force a decade ago, in 2012.

Article 2 of the Charter details its objectives among others as to a) Promote adherence, by each State Party, to the universal values and principles of democracy and respect for human rights; b) Promote and protect the independence of the judiciary; c) Promote the establishment of the necessary conditions to foster citizen participation, transparency, access to information, freedom of the press and accountability in the management of public affairs; d) Promote gender balance and equality in the governance and development processes.

The Charter emphasizes certain principles through which member states must uphold: Citizen Participation, Accountable Institutions, Respect for Human Rights, Adherence to the principles of the Rule of Law, Respect for the supremacy of the constitution and constitutional order, Entrenchment of democratic Principles, Separation of Powers, Respect for the Judiciary, Independence and impartiality of electoral bodies, best practice in the management of elections. These are among the top issues that Batswana have been calling for, that they be entrenched in the new Constitution.

The ACDEG is a revolutionary document. Article 3 of the ACDEG, sets guidance on the principles that must guide the implementation of the Charter among them: Effective participation of citizens in democratic and development processes and in the governance of public affairs; Promotion of a system of government that is representative; Holding of regular, transparent, free and fair elections; Separation of powers; Promotion of gender equality in public and private institutions and others.

Batswana have been calling for laws that make it mandatory for citizen participation in public affairs, more so, such calls have been amplified in the just-ended “consultative process” into the review of the Constitution of Botswana. Many scholars, academics, and Batswana, in general, have consistently made calls for a constitution that provides for clear separation of powers to prevent concentration of power in one branch, in Botswana’s case, the Executive, and provide for effective checks and balances. Other countries, like Kenya, have laws that promote gender equality in public and private institutions inscribed in their constitutions. The ACDEG could be a useful advocacy tool for the promotion of gender equality.

Perhaps more relevant to Botswana’s situation now is Article 10 of the Charter. Given how the constitutional review process unfolded, the numerous procedural mistakes and omissions, the lack of genuine consultations, the Charter principles could have provided a direction, if Botswana was party to the Charter. “State Parties shall ensure that the process of amendment or revision of their constitution reposes on national consensus, obtained, if need be, through referendum,” reads part of Article 10, giving clear clarity, that the Constitution belong to the people.

With the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance in hand, ratified, and also given the many shortfalls in the current constitution, Batswana can have a tool in hand, not only to hold the government accountable but also a tool for measuring aspirations and shortfalls of our governance institutional framework.

Botswana has not signed, nor has it acceded or ratified the ACDEG. The time to ratify the ACDEG is now. Our Movement, Motheo O Mosha Society, with support from the Democracy Works Foundation and The Charter Project Africa, will run a campaign to promote, popularise and advocate for the ratification of the Charter (#RatifytheCharter Campaign). The initiative is co-founded by the European Union. The Campaign is implemented with the support of our sister organizations: Global Shapers Community – Gaborone Hub, #FamilyMeetingBW, Botswana Center for Public Integrity, Black Roots Organization, Economic Development Forum, Molao-Matters, WoTech Foundation, University of Botswana Political Science Society, Young Minds Africa and Branding Akosua.

Ratifying the Charter would reaffirm Botswana’s commitment to upholding strong democratic values, and respect for constitutionalism, and promote the rule of law and political accountability. Join us in calling the Government of Botswana to #RatifyTheCharter.

*Morena MONGANJA is the Chairperson of Motheo O Mosha society; a grassroots movement advocating for a new Constitution for Botswana. Contact: or WhatsApp 77 469 362.

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The Taiwan Question: China ramps up military exercises to rebuff US provocations

18th August 2022

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosis visit to Taiwan has violated the One-China policy, and caused the escalation of tensions across the Taiwan Strait. Experts and political observers across the spectra agree that Pelosis actions and subsequent pronouncements by US President Joe Biden gave impetus to an already simmering tension in the Taiwan Strait, provoking China to strengthen its legitimate hold on the Taiwan Strait waters, which the US and Taiwan deem as international waters.

Pelosis visit to Chinas Taiwan region has been heavily criticised across the globe, with China arguing that this is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US Joint Communiqus. In response to this reckless move which seriously undermined China’s sovereignty, and interfered in China’s internal affairs, the expectation is for China to give a firm response. Pelosi visit violated the commitments made by the U.S. side, and seriously jeopardized peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

To give context to Chinas position over Taiwan region, the history behind gives us perspective. It is also important to note that the history between China and Taiwan is well documented and the US has always recognized it.

The Peoples Republic of China recognises Taiwan as its territory. It has always been the case even before the Nationalist Republic of China government fled to the previously Japanese-ruled Island after losing the civil war on the mainland in 1949. According to literature that threat was contained for decades first with a military alliance between the US and the ROC on Taiwan, and after Washington switched diplomatic recognition to the PRC in 1979 by the US One China policy, which acknowledges Beijings position that Taiwan is part of One China. Effectively, Taiwans administration was transferred to the Republic of China from Japan after the Second World War in 1945, along with the split between the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC) as a consequence of the Chinese Civil War. Disregarding this history, as the US is attempting to do, will surely initiate some defence reaction on the side of China to affirm its sovereignty.

However, this history was undermined since Taiwan claimed to democratise in the 1990s and China has grown ever more belligerent. Furthermore, it is well documented that the Biden administration, following the Trump presidency, has made subtle changes in the way it deals with Taipei, such as loosening restrictions on US officials meeting Taiwanese officials this should make China uneasy. And while the White House continues to say it does not support Taiwanese independence, Bidens words and actions are parallel to this pledge because he has warned China that the US would intervene militarily if China attacked Taiwan another statement that has provoked China.

Pelosi, in her private space, would know that her actions amount to provocation of China. This act of aggression by the USA seriously undermines the virtues of sovereignty and territorial integrity which has a huge potential to destabilize not only the Taiwan Strait but the whole of the Asia- Pacific region. The Americans know very well that their provocative behavior is deliberately invoking the spirit of separatism masqueraded as Taiwan independence. The US is misled to think that by supporting separatism of Taiwan from China that would give them an edge over China in a geopolitics. This is what one Chinese diplomat said this week: The critical point is if every country put their One-China policy into practice with sincerity, with no compromise, is going to guarantee the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. Therefore, it was in the wake of US House speaker Nancy Pelosis visit to Taiwan, that China, in a natural response revealed plans for unprecedented military exercises near the island, prompting fears of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait and the entire Asia-Pacific region. The world community must promote and foster peace, this may be achieved when international laws are respected. It may also happen when nations respect the sovereignty of another. China may be in a better space because it is well capacitated to stake its territorial integrity, what about a small nation, if this happens to it?

As to why military exercises by Beijing; it is an expected response because China was provoked by the actions of Pelosi. To fortify this position, Chinese President, Xi signed a legal basis for Chinas Peoples Liberation Army to safeguard Chinas national sovereignty, security and development interests. The legal basis will also allow military missions around disaster relief, humanitarian aid and peacekeeping. In addition the legal changes would allow troops to prevent spillover effects of regional instabilities from affecting China, secure vital transport routes for strategic materials like oil, or safeguard Chinas overseas investments, projects and personnel. It then follows that President Xis administration cannot afford to look weak under a US provocation. President Xi must protector Chinas sovereignty and territorial integrity, of which Taiwan is a central part. Beijing is very clear on One-China Policy, and expects all world players to recognize and respect it.

The Peoples Liberation Army has made it clear that it has firepower that covers all of Taiwan, and it can strike wherever it wants. This sentiments have been attributed to Zhang Junshe, a researcher at the PLA Navy Research Institute. Zheng further said, We got really close to Taiwan. We encircled Taiwan. And we demonstrated that we can effectively stop intervention by foreign forces. This is a strong reaction from China to warn the US against provocation and violation of the One-China Policy.

Beijings military exercises will certainly shake Taiwans confidence in the sources of its economic and political survival. The potential for an effective blockade threatens the air and shipping routes that support Taiwans central role in global technology supply chains. Should a humanitarian situation arise in Taiwan, the blame would squarely be on the US.

As Chinas military exercises along the Taiwan Strait progress and grow, it remains that the decision by Nancy Pelosi to visit Chinas Taiwan region gravely undermined peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sent a wrong signal to Taiwan independence separatist forces. This then speaks to international conventions, as the UN Secretary-General Antnio Guterres explicitly stressed that the UN remains committed to the UN General Assembly Resolution 2758. The centerpiece is the one-China principle, namely, there is but one China in the world, the government of the Peoples Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is a part of China. It must be noted that the US and the US-led NATO countries have selectively applied international law, this has been going on unabated. There is a plethora of actions that have collapsed several states after they were attacked under the pretext of the so-called possession of weapons of mass destruction illuminating them as threats – and sometimes even without any valid reason. to blatantly launch military strikes and even unleash wars on sovereign countrie

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Internal party-democracy under pressure

21st June 2022

British novelist, W. Somerset Maugham once opined: If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.

The truism in these words cannot be underestimated, especially when contextualizing against the political developments in Botswana. We have become a nation that does not value democracy, yet nothing represent freedom more than democracy. In fact, we desire, and value winning power or clinging to power more than anything else, even if it harms the democratic credentials of our political institutions. This is happening across political parties ruling and opposition.

As far as democracy is concerned, we are regressing. We are becoming worse-off than we were in the past. If not arrested, Botswana will lose its status as among few democratic nations in the Africa. Ironically, Botswana was the first country in Africa to embrace democracy, and has held elections every five years without fail since independence.

We were once viewed as the shining example of Africa. Those accolades are not worth it any more. Young democracies such as South Africa, with strong institutions, deserves to be exalted. Botswana has lost faith in democracy, and we will pay a price for it. It is a slippery slope to dictatorship, which will bring among other excess, assault on civil liberties and human rights violations.

Former President, Festus Mogae once stated that Botswanas democracy will only become authentic, when a different party, other than the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) wins elections, and when the President of such party is not from Serowe.

Although many may not publicly care to admit, Mogaes assertion is true. BDP has over the years projected itself as a dyed-in-the-wool proponent of democracy, but the moment its stay in power became threatened and uncertain, it started behaving in a manner that is at variance with democratic values.This has been happening over the years now, and the situation is getting worse by the day.

Recently, the BDP party leadership has been preaching compromise and consensus candidates for 2024 general elections. Essentially, the leadership has lost faith in theBulela Ditswedispensation, which has been used to selected party candidates for council and parliament since 2003. The leadership is discouraging democracy because they believe primary elections threaten party unity. It is a strange assertion indeed.

Bulela Ditswewas an enrichment of internal party democracy in the sense that it replaced the previous method of selection of candidates known as Committee of 18, in which a branch committee made of 18 people endorsed the representatives. While it is true that political contest can divide, the ruling party should be investing in political education and strengthening in its primary elections processes. Democracy does not come cheap or easy, but it is valuable.

Any unity that we desire so much at the expense of democracy is not true unity. Like W. Somerset Maugham said, democracy would be lost in the process, and ultimately, even the unity that was desired would eventually be lost too. Any solution that sacrifice democracy would not bring any results in the long run, except misery.

We have seen that also in opposition ranks. The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) recently indicated that its incumbent Members of Parliament (MPs) should not be challenged for their seats. While BDP is sacrificing democracy to stay in power, UDC is sacrificing democracy to win power. It is a scary reality given the fact that both parties ruling and opposition have embraced this position and believe democracy is the hindrance to their political ambitions.

These current reality points to one thing; our political parties have lost faith in democracy. They desire power more than, the purpose of power itself. It is also a crisis of leadership across the political divide, where we have seen dissenting views being met with persecution. We have seen perverting of political process endorsed by those in echelons of power to manipulate political outcomes in their favour.

Democracy should not be optional, it should be mandatory. Any leader proposing curtailing of democracy should be viewed with suspicion, and his adventures should be rejected before it is too late. Members of political parties, as subscribers of democracy, should collectively rise to the occasion to save their democracy from self-interest that is becoming prevalent among Botswana political parties.

The so-called compromise candidates, only benefits the leadership because it creates comforts for them. But for members, and for the nation, it is causing damage by reversing the gains that have been made over the years. We should reject leaders who only preach democracy in word, but are hesitant to practice it.

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