An audio recording of a Youth League member plotting the Secretary General’s downfall points to the extent of hostilities in the party. Playing dirty includes alleged bribing of Government officials to discredit Balopi and other members of the party. PHILLIMON MMESO reports
A concerted political chicanery aimed at toppling the Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Secretary General Mpho Balopi both as Parliamentary candidate and blocking his re-election at this year’s elective congress has been exposed.
The Patriot on Sunday has an audio recording in which the BDP National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC) deputy Chairperson Vuyo Notha reveals how they want to bring down Balopi.
Notha, who is a Specially Elected Councilor in Sowa Township, reveals in the leaked video to one Kabo that if they don’t bring down Balopi and he wins at the July elective congress they will be doomed.
“You think Balopi is a demi god! What I can guarantee you is that if we leave Balopi now and he wins in July me and you are doomed!” he warns Kabo.
The BDP youth leader assures Kabo, who said he wanted a guarantee after they have brought down Balopi that he will get employment that that will happen if he cooperates.
Balopi will seek re-election at the BDP elective congress and will take on his former ally Samson Moyo Guma who is challenging him for the position.
Notha reveals in the audio that he knows a lot of information which he has been given by some party elders and strategies on how to discredit Balopi and that he fears for his life if it is leaked.
“You and I know a lot and if this information is leaked we are doomed and must be careful with the information we share,” he says in the tape.
The duo is said to have been part of some BDP brigades recruited to infiltrate Balopi’s campaign team and share information with ‘elders’ (names known to this publication).
In November last year they collected names of potential voters and registered them for elections without them physically going to the registration centres.
Most of the trafficked potential voters were taken from Mogoditshane and given P200 under the pretext that they were recruited by Balopi while the youth were acting under instructions from some party elders.
In an interview Balopi said that he is aware of the issue that there are some party elders who are hell-bent on discrediting him by using some tertiary students.
“Some of the party elders hold positions of leadership within the party while some used to be leaders of this party. I am very disappointed in them if what has been said is true,” he said.
Asked what action he will take, Balopi – the BDP parliamentary candidate for Gaborone North – said that if what is said is true he will seek recourse from the courts of law.
“I have been portrayed in a very negative light in the media that I have trafficked voters thus putting my credibility on a spotlight as politician, businessman and family man,” he said.
The copies of the names of the illegal registered voters were shared with some publication to show that they have been some dirty dealings from Balopi.
On November 21, 2018, Notha was allegedly given P2 500 to give to the IEC officers who wanted to be greased financially in order to release the names of the faulty registered voters in Gaborone North.
“We collected the cards and showed to our elders who will then process our payments,” revealed one youth who identified himself as Kabo who was caught in a conversation with Natho.
When contacted for a comment, Notha denied that he was part of the team that wanted to discredit Balopi and said he doesn’t know Kabo and he has never had a conversation with him.
“I cannot discredit nor campaign against Balopi; that will be against the party constitution and I will face suspension,” he said in a telephonic interview; denying further that he had been given some money to bribe IEC officials.
Kabo Masoba, who is captured on tape in a conversation with Notha, denied ever talking to Notha about toppling Balopi but admitted that they were friends.
“I cannot disclose what I talk with my friends about to the media,” he said.As part of their modus operandi, some of the trafficked voters’ mobile numbers were leaked to the media so that they could confirm Balopi’s attempts at cheating at the polls.
The MP for Gaborone North, who is a member of the Alliance for Progressives (AP), Haskins Nkaigwa has threatened to report the issue of vote trafficking by Balopi to the police. In an interview with the Argus Online, Nkaingwa said that he was working with some disgruntled BDP members in the constituency to expose the crime committed by Balopi’s campaign team.
Registering for elections at an area where one is not residing is an offence, person could be charged P1, 000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months and be struck from the voters roll. Attempts to get a comment from IEC spokesperson, Osupile Maroba, were futile as his mobile phone was offline.