Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General, Mpho Balopi has defended President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s heavy security detail at the Kang Congress two weeks ago, describing it as a “normal procedure” despite some startling occurrences.
In the highly anticipated historic event, attendees were stunned by the presence of strong security personnel that had been on sight approximately two weeks before the congress. A member of the BDF Commando Unit who spoke on condition of anonymity told WeekendPost that they were told to prepare for a trip on the eleventh hour but never told the destination until they arrived in Kang Botswana a few days before the congress.
In an unusual occurrence, the presidential security detail was beefed up with quite a considerable number of Special Support Group (SSG), Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Commando Unit as well as Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), all dispatched in one place, a scenery that raised suspicions.
The DIS chief Peter Magosi was the man running the show. At some point the ever energetic Magosi acted as Aide-De-Camp (ADC), offering personal security to President Mokgweetsi Masisi. The DIS chief was also pictured riding the Presidential convoy on an uncompromising position to send a clear message that indeed he is in control.
When briefing the media after the Kang Congress, Balopi told members of the media that the DIS could see things that an ordinary eye could not see. He said the reason they were on high alert means they detected some external forces that might be dangerous not only to the President but risky to everyone attending the congress in Kang. The build up to the historic special congress saw a fierce fight involving President Mokgweetsi Masisi, presidential hopeful Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi and former President Lt Gen Ian Khama.
Reports on planned coup and assassination claims on Masisi made headlines both locally and internationally. On the eve of the congress, Venson-Moitoi took the BDP to court but lost the case when the High Court ruled that her case was not urgent and that in her submissions she failed to prove that she qualifies to run for president with regard to citizenship.
The feud would later see Tati East legislator Samson Moyo Guma fleeing the country amid assassination claims. Moitoi took the decision to withdraw from the presidential race in the morning of the congress citing her displeasure on how she was ill-treated and cheated by the Masisi camp. When questioned this week about the mass deployment of security organs at Kang, Balopi said the security report that was carried out by the party proved that there was no risk at Kang.
“The high presence of security on the ground was merely to protect the presidency as an institution, his deputy and the cabinet. It does not mean that somebody’s life was under threat”, said Balopi. Balopi is of the view that the high security also provided protection not only to democrats but every individual who was in Kang. He said this is not something new, but a practice that has always been there when a head of state travels the country in the past.
Meanwhile DIS Magosi said the current situation in the country is not like in the past. “What happened in Kang, even if there was something I would not share with you because that would be classified”, said Magosi. The spy chief said from time to time as the DIS they do change their daily routine just to beef up security citing example about the Palapye Congress where the President arrived in a totally different convoy. Magosi said it is a standard practice that they keep their eyes on the ground to ensure maximum security and that everyone is safe. “That question you can go to any country, they will not answer you because it talks to the threatening the life of a President”, he concluded.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.