Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General Mpho Balopi is at the receiving end of the backlash, with some democrats accusing him of behaving in a manner that is likely to cost the party in next year general elections.
In an extra-ordinary year, BDP is scheduled to meet twice in congress; first for the Special Congress convened specifically for the purpose of electing and endorsing party president, as provided for by the party constitution— and secondly for the party’s biennial ordinary congress. It is reported that one time party chairman Samson Guma, will next year take his former ally for the position of secretary general. It is believed that Guma’s intentions are giving Balopi a sleepless night.
“There are talks that the man [Balopi] harbors to become the next vice president after 2019, replacing Slumber [Tsogwane]. Those close to Tsogwane should pinch him, because he will not see what hits him down,” warned a source close to developments. Balopi is also blamed for acting in a manner that have worsened the relationship between Masisi and former president, Lt Gen Ian Khama.
“If you analyse things well, Balopi has a hand in the war between the two. His first punch was to suspend Khama man, Tshepang Mabaila for five years. Secondly, he never invites the former President at any BDP event. Clearly, he up to something,” the sourced indicated. Few days ago, Khama openly hit on Balopi whom he believed has joined forces to undermine him. Khama cast aspersions on Balopi pedigree to win a constituency currently occupied by opposition.
“Even if he is vying for the presidency, he still needs to work hard because he needs people to follow him,”Khama told Weekend Post. “During my time we had a very good relationship but I don’t know why because of 1st April things changed. Even if I am not in the structures anymore but we can still continue enjoying the good relationship. If that is his objective it is going to be a hard thing, it will be difficult for him.”
Khama said right now the BDP is looking forward to postponing the elective congress next year but they can’t do that because that will be unconstitutional. “What interests me is that some of them I will not mention by name whose names are linked to the postponement are the same people who were commending me to abide by the constitution and not try to extend my term in office, they said I am a soldier and will not vacate the office but these are the same people who are said to be the ones who wants to change the BDP constitution so it can accommodate them,” Khama said.
Sources believed Balopi has failed to reinvent himself after past failures, and heading to 2019 general elections, BDP could be headed for more trouble under his guidance as head of secretariat. “After all, Democrats should find peace in that, The SG is not that a good game player on his own. He has surrounded himself with people with little or no political capital, which will work against him in the coming congress against Guma Moyo.”
Those who are against Balopi content that the BDP 2013 Primary elections and ultimately 2014 general elections would have taught democrats a lesson on who to vote into the secretariat office of BDP Central Committee in 2017. Balopi returned to the secretary general position at last year’s party congress when he contested under the invisible Masisi slate, which won all Central Committee positions.
In 2014, the BDP for the very first time since its inception registered a popular vote below 50 percent, garnering 46.7 percent of popular vote. Sources at Tsholetsa house blame Balopi for the mess which followed the 2018 primary elections, in which at 42 parliamentary candidates did not accept elections result citing irregularities.
“In 2013, just like now, the BDP bulela ditswe was marred with controversies and so many re-runs, it was the same bulela ditswe that bore fruit to so many independent candidates then; unhappy democrats who felt the party did not take into consideration their frustrations and efforts who then decided to vote against the BDP,” the sourced argued.
Reports indicate that political savvy candidate in the mold of Guma has identified that his rival, Balopi is politically weak, and his survival at the helm of BDP structures has been mostly been out of fortunate association with the right people. Balopi was a nonentity in political circles when he rose to stardom in 2011, replacing Kentse Rammidi as the party secretary general following the latter’s abrupt resignation from the party few months after assuming the position.
Balopi had been co-opted into the Central Committee by Khama at the 2011 BDP congress. In 2013, Balopi and his then business partners; Guma and Thapelo Olopeng took over control of the BDP Central Committee. The three men have since moved in operate directions. Last year ahead of Tonota Congress, Balopi showed-up at the eleventh-hour a slate involving Nkate as Secretary General and Masisi as chairman failed to materialize following the former’s declarations for presidential ambitions. Balopi was then listed as Masisi camp candidate for secretary general and won.
This week’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting held at State House chaired by Party President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, turned into a ‘boardroom brawl’ with Masisi expressing concerns and accusing central committee members of not adequately shielding him from opposition missiles.
The meeting which was held on Monday this week was to deliberate on a number of agenda items but the President took the moment to tongue lash his inner circle to stop silly PR blunders that are causing more harm than good. The reprimand was mostly directed to party Secretary General Mpho Balopi as well as Chairman of Communications and International Relations sub-committee, Kagelelo Banks Kentse.
It took the intervention of the Permanent Secretary to the President, Elias Magosi to arrest a dispute between the warring Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), by instructing the former to hand over the unfinished P100 billion docket to the latter.
But the PSP’s efforts are not enough, the two institutions are back in the boxing ring again following a letter from the DPP inviting the DCEC back into a case they long declared as “hogwash”. A savingram dated 18th January 2021 from the DPP to the DCEC is calling on the DCEC to assist with further evidence in the P100 billion case, but the DCEC which has never hidden its indifference posits that the move by the DPP can be summed up by the expressions: ‘opening healing wounds’.
A fed-up Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director General, Tymon Katlholo has come out guns blazing over an order from the Director of the Directorate of Public
Prosecutions (DPP), Stephen Tiroyakgosi instructing the DCEC, to solicit a statement from the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and ruling party Member of Parliament for Mochudi East, Mabuse Pule, regarding the role he played in the issuance of Whelheminah Maswabi’s intelligence operations passport.