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Masisi kingpins plot Balopi downfall

A group of leading kingpins within Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s camp are plotting to prevent secretary general and Gaborone North parliamentary aspirant, Mpho Balopi from accumulating power.

This publication has been informed by party insiders close to developments that there is a growing discontent within the Masisi camp about the presence of Balopi, whose victory as party secretary general in Tonota and possibly as Gaborone North  legislator is believed could propel him to the vice presidency in two years time. Already, the Gaborone North branch has reached a consensus on Balopi and wants him to be the party parliamentary candidate for the constituency.

“Balopi is one of Masisi’s loyal and trusted allies. They know if he becomes the party secretary general and also wins the Gaborone North constituency in 2019, Masisi will consider him for vice presidency,” the source revealed. “He is already close to Masisi, the idea is to prevent him from accumulating power because a few individuals in Masisi’s camp also fancy their chances for the vice presidency.” This publication was further informed that Masisi will next year; upon becoming president appoint a stopgap individual as his Vice President.

“He is considering appointing someone who will not be contesting for a parliamentary constituency in 2019. That is why Batshu [Edwin]’s name has been cropping out recently as potential appointee. He is also looking for someone who is calm and who won’t give him trouble,” the source revealed. “The bigger picture is 2019. A lot of people are positioning themselves within the Masisi camp and others are pushing for personal interest. They would also want the VP to be someone who will lend them their ear once Masisi is in power.”

Weekend Post also has it on good authority that those who are wary of Balopi’s potential rise and accumulation of influence are also planning to identify a strong candidate who would challenge Balopi in Gaborone North. Gaborone North, a constituency currently under Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) will be among the 19 constituencies to undergo primary elections in November this year.

In what is seen as a jostle for Masisi’s attention, who is guaranteed the presidency next year, a group of his loyalist believe Balopi is too close to Masisi. Balopi is a businessman who has previously served as party secretary general from 2011-2015. Sources indicate that Balopi has been one of Masisi’s chief campaigners since the 2015 Mmadinare Congress where Masisi was first elected party chairman. However, notwithstanding that fact, Balopi’s Secretary General bid divided opinion within the Masisi camp.

Initially, Jacob Nkate was persuaded, in a move facilitated by Balopi himself, to give up the chairmanship bid and contest as secretary general under the Masisi camp. The deal however fell through when Nkate revealed his future presidential ambitions. The departure of Nkate meant the Masisi camp reluctantly settled for Balopi. A second attempt to bring back Nkate to the Masisi camp by BDP Treasurer Satar Dada also hit a snag, leaving Balopi as the final candidate for secretary general in the faction.

“Most of them believe Balopi wants to ride on Masisi’s back to rise to the position of secretary general. They are of the view that by campaigning for Masisi they are also literally putting Balopi in the secretary general position,” the source contended.

Windfall for Botsalo ntuane

The internal bickering within the Masisi camp has availed the incumbent secretary general, Botsalo Ntuane the opportunity to retain his position with little resistance from the camp. This publication further learnt that, the Masisi kingpins are secretly campaigning for Ntuane instead of Balopi.

“Earlier on, there were suggestions within the Masisi camp that Ntuane should be allowed to retain the secretary general position because many believe he knows the party more than Mpho [Balopi], and that he has little political ambitions, posing no threat to those with ambitions,” he said. “The talking is that, it is Masisi who they are pushing for, not Balopi.”   

Ntuane has already stated that he is not contesting parliamentary elections billed for November this year. Ntuane was one of the causalities of the 2014 general elections, losing his Gaborone Bonnington South parliamentary seat to UDC deputy leader, Ndaba Gaolathe.
It is believed that the contest for the secretary general position will be mainly between Nkate and Ntuane, with Balopi seen as a dark horse in the race.

Masisi’s chairmanship bid, which is seen as consolidation of power prior to the succession next year has attracted a number of key figures that were previously viewed not to be seeing eye to eye. Both Dada and Deputy Treasurer Jagdish Shah, who were perceived to be having some animosity between them, Tati East legislator and businessman Guma Moyo and his former business ally, Balopi all find themselves in the same camp.

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

20th March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

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BOCRA detects new cyber attacks targeted at Botswana

20th March 2023

Government owned communications regulator, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) recently detected several cyber-attacks targeted at national information and communications infrastructure, companies and home routers in this country.

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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP

17th March 2023

As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.

Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.

Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.

He made a special appeal to the PAP:  “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”

Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”

According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.

As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.

The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.

Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.

Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.

He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.

“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.

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