Balopi’s ouster strategy put forward at Tsholetsa House
Party leadership accuses him of radicalising BDP MPs
Balopi denies the existence of any factions
President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his vice Slumber Tsogwane are allegedly racing against time to see the party Secretary General Mpho Balopi removed from his influential position, The Patriot on Sunday has learned.
This publication is reliably informed that Balopi is a highly unwanted man by the party’s top brass. Sources close to the developments at BDP’s Tsholetsa House have intimated that the plot against Balopi is already in play as some of his allies are being targeted.
Balopi is allegedly accused by the leadership of being part of an emerging powerful faction that includes two other ministers.
“There is a concern from the BDP leadership that Balopi is influential in the party with the vice president Tsogwane, who is also the BDP chairman, under pressure to calm brewing storm. Balopi has been silent allegedly because he feels mistreated by Masisi and other fellow central committee members. There is sponsored coup that is targeted to discredit him so that he can step down,” confided a source.
It is said the proposed “Stop Balopi’ ’movement is taking shape behind the scenes.
“A political decampaigning strategy is coming up with the Stop Balopi movement and it will try to humiliate him. The party leadership at Central Committee level is worried by Balopi’s influence. It is thought that the current revolt against the government by the BDP councillors was influenced by him. His allies are pushed out at Tsholetsa House as there in an internal BDP primaries audit,” said a source.
Information turned up by this publication is that a number of Balopi’s key allies both in cabinet and BDP backbench would be targeted to ensure they lose primaries elections.
Sources say Masisi and Tsogwane are highly worried by a strong political bromance that exists between Balopi and some cabinet ministers.
“The emerging strong faction both in Parliament and at elders’ committee level has broken ranks with Masisi and his two right hand men, Vice president Tsogwane and Minister of Presidential Affairs Kabo Morwaeng. It is for this reason that Balopi, and other ministers in his faction could be purged from cabinet,” said impeccable source.
Efforts to solicit comment from Balopi were futile as he didn’t answer the calls into his mobile phone and he requested that he be texted and didn’t reply to the message at time of going to print.
Meanwhile, Balopi wrote in official social media Facebook page on Friday morning denying wars in BDP.
“I breathe the ideals of the BDP. I dream the dreams of our forefathers, and I live to fulfill the values of the Democratic Party through my service. The Article 2 of the BDP constitution is unambiguous, and, as the elected and trusted SG of THE PARTY, it is my duty to live up to the principles espoused in the article. Amongst them is UNITY. Bagaetsho, if anyone is ever to break this principle, whether at party or government, such person would be foreign to our fiber,” he wrote.
As a matter of fact, Balopi said he doubts that there is any cause for division and factionalism.
The big fallout
Political and Administrative lecturer at University of Botswana (UB), Dr Adam Mfundisi, said the issue of a fallout between the President of the BDP and Secretary – General (SG) has raised eyebrows.
“The president of the BDP is also the Head of State and Government, and the SG is a Minister in Government. During the 2019 general Elections, both the President and SG worked harmoniously to steer the BDP electoral outcomes. Both developed an elaborate and covert plan to win the elections by all means available. The outcome of the elections was controversial because of serious allegations leveled against the ruling party and the electoral management body (IEC),” added Dr Mfundisi.
He said at the initial stage of Masisi’s Government there was cohesion and integration within the party and government.
“The President and SG operated as comrades but what transpired between the two leading to allegations of a fallout is something worth investigating. The duo has not come out to affirm or dismiss the allegations of a fallout. We can make assumptions of the reasons that precipitated the rivalry between the President and SG. I assume that the interests of the BDP colluded with the interests of the MEK Government. Allegations of serious socio-economic, and the political missteps by the President and Government are affecting the BDP badly,” buttressed the UB don.
According to him, The SG is the spokesperson and administrator of the BDP, so he suspects that he was critical of the dealings in government that damages the integrity and political fortunes of the BDP.
In 2009, former president Ian Khama dropped political heavyweight and then party chairman Daniel Kwelagobe from cabinet after Kwelagobe – the longest serving BDP Secretary General before becoming Chairman – stood his ground that he would rather let go the ministerial post.
This ended with a BDP split in 2010 after the then strong Barata-Phathi faction had in 2009 won all Central Committee positions whitewashing the A-Team which enjoyed the backing of Khama
Govt under pressure
Meanwhile, Mfundisi said the growing allegations of corruption and of maladministration levelled against the Government are damaging the BDP political status as voters lose confidence on it.
“Voters have lost confidence and trust on government due to a series of serious misdemeanors, including corruptive dealings. For example, the acquisition of the Banyana farm, the alleged private business dealings, Okavango land grab, purchasing of Tautona Lodge, etc. have put the government and the President on the spotlight damaging the integrity of the BDP. There are also allegations of the Cabinet’s discomfort with the performance of both the President and VP. This has caused instability in the corridors of the ruling party. Additionally, Minister Balopi feels that the President wants him to relinquish the SG position and remain Minister,” said Mfundisi.
The SG position, Dr Mfundisi said, has political clout positioning one for a higher political office and the SG is reluctant to leave the position, adding that Balopi was a strong contender for VP position at some point.
Mfundisi observed that the instability in the BDP and Government arises from the dire and numerous scandals.