Former president Sir Ketumile Masire has thrown a gauntlet at the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General Mpho Balopi to execute the threat to drag him before the Council of Elders to be grilled about what he said at Gomolemo Motswaledi’s funeral.
Addressing mourners at the funeral Masire made a statement, which in some quarters was viewed as an endorsement of the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and its leader Duma Boko. In a statement released early this week Masire says he is still waiting and is sorely disappointed, because Balopi's failure to carry out his threat will deny him the opportunity to hear what was so offensive to Domkrag that he said at the funeral of his friend. "Is my sin the fact that I did not get briefing notes from the Secretary General or his minions before I went to speak at the funeral? Indeed, “pelo yame e tletse bogalaka” to find that my name and those of my stalwarts is so easily, cheaply and wantonly dragged in the mud by fellows who were either boys, toddlers or yet unborn, when fundamentals or principles that were to be corner stones of our policy or philosophy were crafted. These were principles which in essence provided for multi-partisan and allowed Batswana to freely form parties whose sole interest is to serve Botswana to the best of their ability. Not to “eat” or to “boot-lick”," said Masire.
In clear reference to Balopi and Mokgweetsi Masisi-acting minister of education and chairman of BDP communications committee Masire says those in the high position of the party who claim that they are there to ‘eat’ and those in the executive of government who are saying they are there to ‘boot-lick’ are the ones who bring the party into disrepute, and should be brought before the council of the elders to answer for their sins. Masisi has publicly confessed to being a bootlicker to the president.
Addressing a press conference in Gaborone on June 26 last year ahead of the Maun congress Balopi was reported to have challenged those who object to the ruling party big wigs practice of awarding each other government tenders to “learn to live with it”. He was qouted saying: “I always hear people complaining of how BDP members win tenders but they seem to forget that we are in the ruling party. How do you expect us to rule when we don’t have money?"
Balopi castigated opposition party members for accusing the ruling party of being corrupt and influencing the award of government tenders to those belonging to the ruling party. “You should just live with it and accept that we are ruling," said Balopi, claiming that the BDP will win all 57 constituencies at the October general elections.
Masire says he poured out his heart to console the family that has lost a beloved son, to console a party that has lost a leader who meant so much to them, indeed who might have been an invaluable asset to the country. "At the end I assured both the family and the party that they need fear no evil," he said.
Masisi referred questions on Masire's latest statement to the secretary general as it makes specific reference to him and what he said before. Efforts to reach Balopi failed as he did not answer his cellphone throughout.