It is said that every dog has its day. And for Member of Parliament for Tonota and also Deputy Speaker of Parliament Pono Moatlhodi, the official opening of Choppies Stores in Tonota was just what the doctor had ordered. It provided the perfect platform for a political dressing down with his bitter political rival, Thapelo Olopeng, who fancies his chances to oust the maverick politician from his home turf.
Olopeng- a former military man, and close associate of president Khama, who has lately enjoyed the limelight as he handed down blankets in the constituency, was also invited to officiate at the ceremony. Hundreds of Tonota residents had turned up at the ceremony. It was not clear from the outset whether Olopeng was the keynote speaker or was there to welcome guests. He however went on to welcome guests and in conclusion declared the store officially opened. This irritated Moatlhodi who felt that he was the one to officially open the store. Giving a keynote address to a very receptive crowd Moatlhodi began by praising former president Festus Mogae who was present at the event.
He then turned his focus on Olopeng. Realising that his political nemesis might have erred by declaring the store open, the voluble deputy speaker of parliament started throwing indirect jabs at Olopeng. “I was given an official letter which clearly showed that I will be giving a keynote address and open Choppies store. I don’t want to step on other people’s toes by performing duties I am not assigned to do as other people normally do,’’ declared Moatlhodi amid cheering from the crowd. Turning to the long speech that Olopeng gave when he welcomed guests, Moatlhodi made an analogy about a person who gave a long speech only to find people leaving and said unlike that character, he is not going to bore them with a long boring speech.
It was clear at this time whom he was referring to as people ululated and some shouted “Mo kgagole Motalaote! (Destroy him)’’ While Moatlhodi was enjoying the centre stage, Olopeng looked embarrassed. The Chief Executive of New African Property Odirile Merafhe could be seen offering him a consolation pat on the back. To drive his point home, Moatlhodi emphasised: ‘’I declare Choppies store officially opened!’’ When asked about the confusion, Choppies Chief Executive Officer Ramachandran Ottapath said that they invited Olopeng and Moatlhodi to cut the ribbon with Choppies Group chairman Festus Mogae. Ottapath said that they invited Olopeng to the opening of the store, as he is the one who introduced them in the village.