A few weeks back we argued in this space as to why the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) delegates who are heading to Tonota this coming month for their elective congress must vote to retain Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi in his position as party chairman. There is nothing wrong with Minister Nonofo Molefhi contesting for the same position, except that the timing is just too wrong for the BDP to risk its already soiled stability. This is the key factor. This week we look at the position of the Secretary General which is rightfully the second fiercely contested for. We begin this assertion in this particular mode that is a deliberate vote of confidence on Botsalo Ntuane, both as a politician, an administrator, a manager and a coordinator.
The return of Mpho Balopi to the BDP will not only be a political suicide, but will be embracing failure. History has a better way of teaching us. And the characters of most men are tested when they have the power. Mpho Balopi, whom by the way I have nothing personal against, once held the position of BDP Secretary General. This was the time when insider trading at the ruling party was most rampant. It was under Mpho Balopi that the BDP found itself having to survive peddling by loyal activists who were complaining that there was too much insider trading at the BDP. He failed, not only to protect the office of the Secretary General, but its ethical standing, its pride and its trusted centre point as a source of reliable information. The only thing I remember about Mpho Balopi’s is when he was quoted to have said; it is his time to eat. That did not seat well with any of the citizens of this country across the political divide. It even hurt the former President of Botswana Sir Ketumile Masire who in response to some empty cartridge threats from Mpho Balopi, cited as that which he remembers Mpho Balopi for. How do you return this kind of person to a public office? Mpho Balopi is generally a nice fellow. Within the circle of politics, I am tempted to remain with my view that Mpho Balopi exists simply for business prosperity. The current political climate surely needs something better than him. It needs someone who can help the BDP restore its glory days and inspire policy hope for the future of us all, as it remains the ruling party. We can’t afford to take this for granted and the BDP delegates must go to Tonota to vote on behalf of not only the BDP, but largely on behalf of the nation of Botswana.
Then there is another former Secretary General in the name of Jacob Nkate who recently returned from Japan where he was an Ambassador. Having been a Member of Parliament for Ngami and a Cabinet Minister, one would have thought Jacob Nkate will be more tactful. This is proving not to be the case. He has already expressed his political ambitions, at a time when he was having the support of the BDP Chairman Mokgweetsi Masisi to be the next Secretary General. I have never observed such a political blunder towards an elective congress. The ambition was not wrong. The tact was and is devoid of reality. I would have done the same thing if I was Mokgweetsi Masisi. I would have ditched any person in my campaign corner whoever seems to want to use my campaign resources, my platform, my votes and my good faith to challenge me in future. Besides, it simply communicated a view that Nkate does not see himself as having the capacity to work for the BDP except when in a position of power. This is just one of the many reasons political recycling is rampant in Botswana. We have allowed it through political entitlement. Comrades must learn that they can serve their parties with or without positions of power. It appears Nkate is beyond repair in this notion. The timing was wrong for Jacob Nkate to publicly pursue such an ambition of Presidency when the Presidency of Mokgweetsi Masisi was itself still not a reality. Having proclaimed his ambition for presidency, Nkate will not be in a position to work well with Chairman and President Mokgweetsi Masisi. The power struggle will disengage the BDP from a mode of stability and focus. He thus becomes an absolute nuisance within the institution called the BDP. It then becomes necessary for the BDP delegates who will flock to Tonota for the upcoming BDP elective congress not only to deny Nkate a vote, but to also advise him that the BDP at the moment does not need those who view themselves as only belonging to it when they have some sort of positions. The BDP needs voters, it needs its glory days back, it needs some sense in policy advisory, it needs sustained focus and not some gear shifting personalities whenever it suits them.
The maverick Botsalo Ntuane has overtime proved to be just what the office of the Secretary General at the BDP needs. He has stood up against a bile attacking opposition and has in many if not all instances defended the BDP both as an orator, as a writer, as a politician and as an intelligent and very smart fellow. Ntuane knows the BDP both in strategic capacity as Secretary General and at an operational level as the former and longest serving Executive Secretary. He has done an exceptional role for the 10 years that he was in Parliament first as a Specially elected Member of Parliament and his last term where he had simply snatched the Gaborone West constituency from the opposition. The BDP needs a strategic and tactful approach towards the 2019 elections and beyond. And the delegates going to vote at the BDP elective congress in Tonota should not really struggle to simply return Botsalo Ntuane as their Secretary General if they are serious about the BDP having some sort of future. The return of Ntuane as Secretary General is not only a necessity for the BDP; it is largely of paramount importance for the nation of Botswana as the BDP remains the ruling party and shall need to have a clear guidance from the BDP headquarters, Tsholetsa House. Besides, it becomes difficult to comprehend if there is any sensible BDP delegate who will have any other option for the Secretary General except Botsalo Ntuane.
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