Under fire Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secretary general, Mpho Balopi was this week hauled over the coals by unhappy Members of Parliament who questioned his modus operandi at Tsholetsa House.
The enraged legislators were not happy with Balopi’s decision to print caps and t-shirts with an unknown tagline of ‘Cava’ which the legislators did not even know what it means. Further, they were surprised as to who made the decision to print such new taglines because there was never a consultation forum.
Reports from the BDP weekly caucus of Members of Parliament suggest that even Legislators who do not normally voice out took turns to chastise Balopi over his overzealous actions some of which breach the party culture. Kenneth Matambo was one of the MPs who was not impressed with Balopi’s decisions.
He expressed shock at the “Cava” cap and jokingly pointed out that he was surprised to see the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi wearing a cap with such a tagline and thought he had actually jumped ship. Matambo insisted that it wrong for known slogans of the party to be removed from party promotional materials without consent or at minimum consultation with members of the party.
Some of the MPs wondered what was wrong with the usual ‘Tsholetsa’ and ‘Domi’ to an extent that Balopi went for an unknown “Cava”. It is understood that he told MPs that the word means “to know”. He further stressed that the intention was to encourage BDP members to know their party. It is also evident, one MP told this publication, that some Members of Parliament were not happy that T-shirts and Caps were printed and they were told to come and collect whereas they have not had an input on what is printed on them.
The T-Shirts have President Masisi’s portrait while the caps have the infamous “Cava” tagline. Other Members of Parliament are concerned that governance has been suspended at BDP because it is not clear how many T-Shirts were printed; who printed them; and at what cost. “The other time we printed T-Shirts with former President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama’s portrait and they started losing colour at their next wash,” said a concerned BDP Member of Parliament who preferred anonymity.
The MPs wanted to know who paid for the T-Shirts and Caps and it came out that the party has paid already. This publication has gathered a speculative figure of close to P2 million. Arone wants Jerusalem investigated – Venson-Moitoi tells him to sit down
Meanwhile at the same BDP Members of Parliament caucus, Okavango Member of Parliament, Bagalatia Arone, who joined the BDP after defecting from Botswana Congress Party (BCP) recently called for an investigation of the alleged Jerusalem faction. However he was quickly dressed down by Serowe South Member of Parliament, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi who told the Minister of Basic Education to calm down and stop bringing imagined events and happenings to the caucus.
Venson-Moitoi also spoke strongly against suggestions made by Mpho Balopi that they should exit Whatsup groups. She told Arone and Balopi that MPs were voted by people and they interact with them through platforms they deem fit. She was surprised that a big party like the BDP would want to measure somebody’s loyalty through Whatsup groups.
Initially Balopi is said to have told the Members of Parliament that President Dr Masisi wants them to exit Whatsup groups. Arone who seemed supportive of the call is a victim of technology after his sex rated post to a BDP Whatsup group circulated widely recently. Contacted for comment, BDP Chief Whip, Likat Kably claimed ignorance on all the issues he was asked even suggesting that the caucus did take place.
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.