No Pushover

Portia Mlilo
BDP Secretary General: Mpho Balopi

Those who fight me shall lose- Balopi

“No one can push me out of the BDP and anyone who wages a war against me shall lose!”

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General (SG), Mpho Balopi fired the above shot to his detractors last week amidst persistent allegations of plot to become party VP that have dogged him for months.

In an exclusive interview with The Voice Balopi said, “This is not the first time people have tried to drive a wedge between president Masisi and I. In the build up to 2014 general elections they did it, It also happened in 2019 when some elements within the party accused me of plotting the downfall of other politicians during Bulela Ditswe. (Primary elections) They joined forces with the opposition to de-campaign me but against all odds as a formidable force within that political environment I won. That was a vote of confidence and I do not take it for granted.”

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Dismissing with contempt the rising crescendo of voices accusing him of forming a faction they have christened ‘Manong’ to position himself for the Chairmanship of the BDP at the July elective congress, Balopi said the rumours were nothing but a strategy meant to divide the party and make it lose focus of the 2024 campaign.

The SG warned his party rank and file to stay away from spreading rumours and focus on the mammoth task of retaining government.

“The BDP should know that these are not simple times that we live in. We have lost almost 13 seats in the Central District. Since 1965 it was the first time we lost constituencies there. There is absolutely no way we can say it is business as usual going forward. We should look at how we strategically approach the 2024 elections and what we need in terms of leadership and how we win back those constituencies,” he cautioned.

Meanwhile several news reports have surfaced recently alleging that Balopi was hatching a plot to challenge the Vice President Slumber Tsogwane for the chairmanship of the BDP.

“The SG is feeling intimidated by Presidential Affairs Minister Kabo Morwaeng, who seems to be President Masisi’s preferred candidate for VP after Tsogwane’s retirement,” a source from the BDP said, and went on to add that Balopi became suspicious when he was allocated a junior ministry when Morwaeneg got Presidential affairs bringing him closer to Masisi.

Balopi has denied any such ambition.

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“Those are conspiracy theories. I work very well with president Masisi and the VP. I have never been divisive and I will never be. I have always been loyal to all the leaders. I am the longest serving SG after Masire and Kwelagobe and I have served four terms. I have been in the central committee since 2011, Some have come and gone and found me here because mine is to help the party and facilitate for it to be a successful political movement. I have always fought for the truth. They don’t tell you how I was subjected to ridicule in the build up to Kang when it was difficult to speak out,” said Balopi

Meanwhile The Voice has learnt that Balopi’s Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development and Annah Mokgethi’s Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs are to be dissolved next month and issues of employment and labour productivity placed under Presidential Affairs.

This would lead to formation of two ministries of Communications and Small and Medium Enterprises ahead of a cabinet reshuffle.

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