Ntuane’s choice to send a brief piece of self poetry masquerading as a letter to the media should not be misconstrued to mean that Ntuane just upped and left with no big issues in the BMD. It must not be forgotten that Ntuane left the BDP to co-found the BMD along with Sidney Pilane, Kabo Morwaeng, Ndaba Gaolatlhe, Guma Moyo and the President Gomolemo Motswaledi. There were of course a host of other functionaries but these were the most prominent, and quiet frankly, most important. Important because of their gravitas they were the faces of the BMD. It must be noted that only Motswaledi remains of the crème de la crème of Botswana politics. Moyo has left, Pilane has left, and Morwaeng is conspicuous by his absence as is Ndaba Gaolatlhe. On the back of this, it is clear that BMD has lost a critical aspect of their public face and as such a big chunk of their credibility.
Losing Ntuane cannot by any stretch of imagination be dismissed with clichéd platitudes that BMD is attracting a hundred more new members. It is a massive blow! Ntuane is one of the few politicians in this country who happen to have crossover appeal, he is also a respected politician (though after his skipping rope antics one wonders how much it will be eroded), add that to his veritable experience as a politician then you begin to appreciate how big a blow this is to the opposition movement.
The defection presents a new challenge to the BMD, questions are going to be asked as to whether they are viable as a political movement. Insinuations that BMD as a BDP agent saboteur project was reaching its zenith will be thrown around. More people will defect. The BMD chairperson himself has admitted this likelihood. In short BMD is like a boxer on the ropes. 2012 is not going to be a pleasant time for them in as much as 2010 was an unpleasant time for the BDP. If BMD activists thought their first big challenge was going to be elections they were sadly mistaken; with the way things are going they will be lucky to get there.
A saying goes that when a man stares into darkness, darkness also stares unto him and only then will you know the true character of the man. This is time for the true character of the BMD to come out. BMD will discover its true identity out of this. Will BMD become a fairly decent party like the ever-growing BCP or will they fade off into nothingness?
We are told by those close to the BMD President that his popular refrain in a difficult situation is “you must go and introspect”. His party will do well to adopt the advice, BMD will need to look into itself and do some soul searching. While putting on a brave face and telling the public that things are hunky dory is good PR, BMD must not believe its own hype. It is clear that there are some problems that they are not likely to admit in public and that is fine as long as they admit it to themselves and move to solve them. You do not lose this many founding fathers and expect people to buy propaganda that they were bought then go on as if you have no problems! You audit yourself and deal with any challenges that you may identify. Motswaledi and Co need to appreciate that BMD is especially vulnerable.
I have pointed out in this blog previously that the BMD has not hurt BDP and this has been proven by subsequent by elections where BMD needed to show the damage done to BDP and dismally failed. The defections and especially that of Ntuane are going to damage BMD appeal as they do come across as an unstable party full of indecisive leaders. They will pick one or two disgruntled BDP members as it is clear that the wind is now with the BDP but BMD needs to worry more about appealing to the previously disenchanted Batswana who cared less for politics. BMD has hard working people who could help restructure and rebuild the party over the next 15 years and they need to accept it will take time. What should be of principal concern to them however should be riding out this current storm. Like a boxer on the ropes under a barrage of blows, BMD needs to cover up, take the punishment and come out swinging. Engaging in public spats and attacking the media will not get them far. They will need to consolidate resources and focus on coming out of this crisis stronger. Failure to be pragmatic and honest could well mark the end of the orange revolution.