Mekaloba e ole! E mengwe e santse e tlaa wa! That is the gleeful declaration of commentators – some serious, some humorous. What a privilege it is for one not to be a politician at this period that leads to the 2014 general elections. The analyses of the results of the BDP primaries have been most predictable and some have bordered on the preposterous. What has interested me most is what I have heard from members of the opposition parties. Some have ululated and danced at the ultimate collapse of the mighty BDP! What a load of rubbish! What I have heard has informed me that there are many in the opposition parties whose primary source of delight is the misfortune of some in the BDP and not so much the success of their own opposition political parties. They draw great delight in seeing certain BDP members suffering defeat and not so much in seeing their own parties advance. They also misinterpret the primary election loss of some of the MPs and ministers. They mistake these losses to have implications on the fortunes of the opposition parties. I think that is stretching it. Let us admit it: the results of the primaries have been most shocking. We have never had so many MPs and ministers lose primary elections. And the slaughter is not even over yet – we are still to have primary elections of the southern region. But let us not forget that the primary elections were and will be between members of the BDP. Those who won and those who lost during the BDP primaries are members of the BDP. They are not members of any of the opposition parties. Their victory is not for opposition parties. The primary interest of the victors is actually to see their party strengthened into a formidable force to defeat the opposition parties. So, while there might be some on the opposition party bench who are celebrating the defeat of some incumbent MPs and ministers, their jubilation is only with an arm of the ruling party, which seeks the demolition of the opposition parties.
Therefore, instead of celebrating the fall of the so-called mekalobe, opposition party members better sleep with one eye opened. They better be afraid; and they better be very afraid because once the new BDP victors have dispensed of their intra-party mekalobe, they are coming after opposition MPs and wannabe MPs like 18-wheeler juggernauts. They are now emboldened. If they can win against their internal formidable incumbents; how much more can they achieve against the poorly resourced members of the opposition parties plagued by internal squabbles and strife. What is happening in the BDP may just be a rebirth of a more forceful BDP and not its demise. BDP e a iphalatsa; what is likely to result is a more dynamic stronger party. And instead of giggling, members of the opposition parties better strategize how they will handle their young and energized opponents.
Let us remember that opposition parties are yet to hold their primaries. A more tragic circus may just be ahead of us. Mekaloba e santse e ka wa mo opposition unless some dodge primaries for internal party stability. Even more disturbing, we are aware that there are some in the BNF who do not want the BNF to be part of the UDC – the so called umbrella party. They argue that their key contention is, and has always been, the preservation of the BNF as a party and brand and that the establishment of the UDC is a threat to the entity called the BNF. This position is fuelled by some in the BCP who abhor a stable BNF and a credible UDC. These cantankerous BNF characters have no restraint and are willing and ready to drag the integrity of the BNF and that of the opposition parties, especially the UDC in the streets. The blood and guts from the UDC primaries are yet to be seen littered in the streets. The same cannot be said of the BCP. Its strategy is fairly simple: to portray a united front regardless of internal strife. Those who like Seabelo Thekiso find such a scenario unbearable may finally leave and find a political home elsewhere, as it has happened in recent past with some councillors.
Obviously there are those on the opposition bench who hope to harvest the disgruntled remnants of the BDP elements who have lost in the primaries. Again that is stretching it. If members believe their representative lost fairly then they are more likely to rally behind the winner. This is much more likely to happen within the ranks of a ruling party more than within the ranks of an opposition party. A ruling party has incumbency as its strength. If put to use wisely; incumbency can be used to soothe the battle wounds of the vanquished. While those on the opposition may be looking to benefit from the losses of the BDP primaries, they must remember to also watch their tails. In the past three years, the BDP has benefitted from the opposition disorganization than the opposition had benefitted from the disgruntlement of the BDP members. Following the formation of the BMD, many of those who matter, with the exception of Hon Mangole & Hon Wynter Mmolotsi, have returned to the BDP. The BDP appears a more formidable force than any of the opposition parties. Truth be told the opposition parties are to blame for this sorry state of affairs. They messed up unity talks. Between now and the 2014 elections the BCP and UDC will be at each other’s throat. Additionally, members of the BNF will be killing each other while the BMD will be trying to face its proper initial test at a general election.
Although many incumbents have lost in the BDP primaries, let us remember that their loss was to a much stronger, more organized and lethal BDP representative. This more refined BDP representative is the one that opposition parties will have to contend with in a general election in 2014. Now that he has dispensed of the intra-party mokalobe, he is now coming after opposition MPs and wannabe MPs. They better sleep with one eye opened. They better be afraid and be very afraid.