Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General Mpho Balopi has bowed to pressure and is now expected to announce his departure from politics ahead of 2024 general elections following what some term ‘intimidation’ from the party leadership.
A rift between Balopi and President Mokgweetsi Masisi has been simmering since 2019. It was a matter of time before the SG throw in the towel and step aside. Already, this publication has learnt that some regions have written letters to the Tsholetsa House, complaining about Balopi, even hinting that he is not fit for the office of the SG. This has forced him to take a decision not to contest, as he anticipates a contest that he can never win. This, according to those close to the MP, was a red-flag enough to deter him from defending his seat at the July billed national congress.
The suspicion from Balopi’s circle was that, at the congress, he might even get a no confidence motion or fail to even get a nomination to contest. This, according to Balopi’s cronies, was going to be a huge humiliation for the SG who has served the party for so long. Further, the Directorate of Intelligence Security (DIS) is said to be a monkey on the back of Balopi and his businesses. As the war rages on, this publication has been reliably informed that a few months back, the DIS started snooping around him. “The main question was to probe him as to how he got his wealth because the say he is living beyond his means,” someone close to the Gaborone North legislator confided.
Upon seeing all these, Balopi had decided not to defend his SG position, which he rose to in 2011. He has told BDP Parliamentary caucus that he will not run for the position this year, this has been confirmed by the party Chief Whip, Liakat Kablay, who said the MP did not provide further details on his decision.
Before arriving at this decision, Balopi was alive to the party’s Central Committee resolution, in which it resolved that the party’s next Secretary General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics. It is revealed that the SG will become more of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the party as he will be working from 8-5pm supervising the whole party Secretariat. In addition, they should not be active in politics. The SG, nonetheless, will attend the weekly BDP parliamentary caucus, and he will also be an Ex-officio in the party Central Committee meetings, sources highlight.
The resolution by the CC which is headed by Masisi is taken by others as a ploy to take Balopi to political obscurity, more especially that the two are not in good terms. It is said, with the resolution implementation gaining momentum, Masisi has pointed former Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Alfred Madigele as his preferred SG to replace Balopi. It is not clear, from the informants or even party officials, as to when this idea was mooted.
Other party members posit the idea came into be on the back of bad-blood between Masisi and Balopi, and it will be used to weaken his (Balopi) grip in the party. Balopi, who was born and raised in a BDP family, has been advised by his family to leave politics as it is likely to ruin the empire he has built before joining the politics. He has been advised not to run for Gaborone North Constituency, which he won convincingly in 2019. BDP mouthpiece Banks Kentse was yet to comment on the matter.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.
In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.
While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.
Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.
Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.