Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Nonofo Molefhi did not clearly state before Parliament the role of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, in the entourage of the Head of State on official assignments.
He rather answered the question evasively, stating that even some members of the opposition have enjoyed official trips with President Mokgweetsi Masisi. “On few occasions the President has not only invited the Secretary General of the BDP in his official assignments, but members of the opposition as well. During one of his travels he was accompanied by Dr Phenyo Butale of the Alliance for Progressives,” said Molefhi answering a question by Francistown South MP, Wynter Mmolotsi who on Wednesday wanted to know the role of Balopi in accompanying Masisi on state visits.
Butale is Mmolotsi’s colleague at Alliance for Progressives, but Molefhi did not tell Parliament either the purpose of Butale or the BDP SG during the state visits. “In all trips the SG of the BDP has accompanied the Head of State; it is the BDP that has borne the cost of his upkeep, thus, no cost on the part of government. The Secretary General was a guest of the president,” Molefhi told Parliament.
Molefhi also concluded that Masisi always invites the BDP SG in the interest of the ruling party. He said Masisi would invite Balopi to extend the BDP interest out of the borders or internationally. “I wish to state that the rationale for inviting the BDP SG to accompany His Excellency during his trips was mainly geared towards strengthening relations between the BDP-led government and other like-minded democratic governments,” said.
Efforts to contact Balopi or his deputy Shaw Kgathi on the issue were futile as their phone rang unanswered at press time. Balopi was quoted two months ago by media reports as saying, “It is very important that the SGs of the ruling party are actively involved in Government to ensure that what the party promised Batswana when we were voted into power is being implemented.”
Balopi’s sentiments were echoing some words of his predecessor Botsalo Ntuane who during the 2015 Mmadinare elective congress introduced reforms that proposed that the BDP should be involved in the running of government. These reforms were met by the party with mixed reactions, but insiders said the then President, Ian Khama, liked Ntuane’s sentiments.
As much as part of those reforms were adopted and given to task teams, some of the proposals never saw the light of the day and many democrats are shocked by the latest development which appears to be implementing Ntuane’s ideas. Some in the BDP believe this plan will backfire as it has never been the tradition of the party. Members of the opposition believe the move is by the BDP government to advance its selfish interest and the party should separate between governance and partisanship.
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.