One would have hoped that Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) 2013 Primary elections and ultimately 2014 General Elections would have taught democrats a lesson on who to vote into the secretariat office of BDP Central Committee. The BDP for the very first time since its inception – under Mpho Balopi as the secretary general of the BDP – registered a win of 46.7% of popular vote as compared to 1965 – 80.4% , 1969- 68.8%, 1974- 76.6%, 1979-75%,1984- 68%,1989- 64%, 1994-54.5%,1999-54.3%, 2004-50.6%, 2009- 53.3% and 2014 – 46.7%
On this article we go on to scrutinise Mpho Balopi capabilities as a Secretary General of an institution as big as the BDP. In 2013, just like now, the BDP bulela ditswe was marred with controversies and so many re-runs. It was the same Bulela Ditswe that bore fruit to so many independent candidates then; unhappy democrats who felt the party did not take into consideration their frustrations and efforts who then decided to vote against the BDP. For the very first time under Mpho Balopi the BDP had performed so poorly and lost so many members to opposition. T was a lot of pain, a lot of democrats were hurt and it seemed not to be important to start a healing process. It was there after he had realised that his capabilities almost cost the party governance that he went into hibernation. He did not defend his position as the Secretary General In Mmadinare, where the BDP faithful ushered in son of the soil Botsalo Ntuane to take over the secretariat of the party that he started serving while a University student. There was breath of hope and things looked brighter and the party looked to be on the road to redemption, with so many proposals that Ntuane had suggested.
For the first time in a while the party was not at the back seat, we truly saw the secretariat in action. The party had a stand on issues; rebutting anything negative that would be carried out by the media. Weekly press conferences the sheriff held, weekly newspaper columns Botsalo Ntuane carried out. Democrats came out of hiding to assist sell and defend the party as a whole, each and every democrat knew that it was their role to defend the party out of love not because they were promised anything in return or something.
Well, I for one thought going to Tonota congress the BDP would continue trusting Ntuane with the position to take us to 2019 general elections. That was not to be because allegations were peddled that Ntuane and HE Dr Masisi did not see eye to eye. Names of former Ambassador Jacob Nkate, and MP for Shoshong, Dikgang Makgalemele, started cropping up. Obviously going into such congress we were looking for a team that would be deadly going to 2019. The Masisi-Nkate team was probably a dream team, followed by Masisi-Ntuane team. The Masisi-Nkate team seemed to be solid until it emerged again that Nkate intended to challenge Masisi for Presidency. That is when Mpho Balopi showed up, like he always does. Remember how he just appeared to replace Nchi Rammidi when the latter left the BDP. He did that again and all of a sudden he was the then Vice President’s right hand man. Democrats at that point knew they would show support to the Party Chairman together with those aligned to him, because of the love they had for the country’s next president.
The question that can be posed is, did Democrat love Mpho Balopi, or they voted him in just because of their love for Dr MEK Masisi?
The BDP at the moment believe it or not, is not united. The second batch of Bulela Ditswe elections were a mess – with many people not appearing on the voters roll on day of elections. If the secretariat office had more than a year to prepare for this exercise then you still have such issues of missing names, missing pages even of some member of parliament or those who contested for Primary elections. We probably have constituencies that are misrepresented because of such issues and we expect people to just say “AMEN” and accept whatever happened.
Currently you have democrats not registering for general elections because there are pending issues in their areas such as appeals. They are deliberately staying away because what happened during Bulela Ditswe might not represent the majority the BDP wants them to accept.
To make it worse, Balopi has continued with his campaign in Gaborone North where he dished himself a constituency without a sweat. There are five constituencies in Gaborone, and 57 country wide, and Mpho Balopi as the Secretary General has selfishly decided to focus his energy on Gaborone North, what about the rest? Are we going to win Government with one constituency? All constituencies are yet to hold rallies of registration drives as that of the secretary general who is supposed to be at the helm of preparations for all these constituencies.
There are talks that the man harbours to become the next vice president after 2019, replacing Slumber Tsogwane. Those close to Tsogwane should pinch him, because he will not see what hits him down.
If you analyse things well, Balopi has a hand in the war between President Masisi and former President Ian Khama. His first punch was to suspend Khama man, Tshepang Mabaila for five years. Secondly, he never invites the former President to any BDP event. Clearly, he up to something.
After all, Democrats should find peace in that the Secretary General is not a good game player on his own. He has surrounded himself with people with little or no political capital – which will work against him in the coming congress against Guma Moyo.
Thato Best Dineo & Goabaone Toy Wetsho
BDP members in good standing