Concerned members court Nkate to replace Balopi
The growing disapproval of Mpho Balopi’s performance as Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General has given birth to a concerned group not aligned to both Cava and New Jerusalem factions, it has emerged.
Balopi who trumped the former SG, Botsalo Ntuane to ascended to the hot seat through block voting at the 2017 BDP Congress in Tonota has of late been accused of using divide and rule tactics and bad mouthing possible competition to president Masisi and the top BDP leadership.
This week, Balopi’s detractors lurched on the resignation by the party’s Executive Secretary, Merapelo Moloise to validate their accusations despite Moloise’s rebuttal of allegations of a fall out between her and her former boss.
Now it has further emerged that a section of Democrats who belong to neither the New Jerusalem faction, which is backing MP for Tati East, Guma Moyo for SG nor Cava faction who are behind Balopi have approached former Member of Parliament for Ngami, Jacob Nkate to be brought in as a compromise candidate to replace Balopi.
“People no longer have faith in him and if he does not withdraw it would give Samson Guma Moyo a good chance of winning. We don’t want Guma because he is anti- Masisi, Guma supports Moitoi and it would be difficult for HE to work with him in his central committee so we want someone strong and aligned to Masisi like Nkate to take over,” added the source.
Nkate is a former long serving cabinet minister and former BDP Secretary General from 2007 to 2009.
However his star began to fade in 2009 when he lost elections having served as a Member of Parliament from 1994 and was deployed in foreign mission to Japan where he was ambassador from 2012 to 2016 when he quit and came back to local politics in 2017.
The source further stated that before Nkate can make a final decision, they would want assurance that Balopi will step down from the race because both Nkate and Balopi support Masisi for presidency over Pelonomi Venson Moitoi.
However, another source expressed doubt that the plan to rope in Nkate would be successful because majority of those behind it were not influential within their own structures.
“They are just ordinary members but if they approach their structures, we may have a meeting with HE and Balopi to plead with them to put the party first ahead of Balopi’s personal interests and hopefully reach a consensus. We are trying to save the party here,” the source emphasized.
Meanwhile Nkate confirmed having heard “ rumours” to that effect but denied that he was officially approached to consider the SG position.
“I have always said that I am a cadre of the BDP in good standing and would be prepared to serve if I could make a difference but remember Balopi was voted into that position and can only be removed through a vote at the congress or discplinary action. The party cannot take action based on few complaints from individuals, ” he explained.
Efforts to get a comment from Balopi failed as his phone did not go through and messages sent were not responded to.