Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secretary general Mpho Balopi has admitted that he was forced into “active party politics” by Gomolemo Motswaledi who died this week Wednesday in Phitshane.
Balopi told Botswana Guardian that the late Umbrella for Democratic Change vice president and Movement for Democratic Change president was one of the few people who shaped his political career. He said when hesitant to join active party politics it was Motswaledi who encouraged him. The two have known each other for many years. “Look, I am a Balopi and I was born in a BDP family but for some time I wasn’t active in party politics until Motswaledi encouraged me to participate in party activities.
I was a political novice that wanted to serve the party in the background contributing from my safe corner, but he felt that I should stand up to be counted and serve the party publicly,” he said. Reminiscing about the past Balopi said that sometime in 2006 they drove together in his car (Balopi) to a youth congress in Bobonong and it was during the drive that Motswaledi asked him to consider active politics.
He said that he listened to Motswaledi’s advice and immediately became a BDP active member. “I will be forever grateful for the role he played in my political life,” he said. “Despite the fact that we were no longer in the same political organisation we had a personal relationship that endured through the years. We regularly talked and at times he would visit me at my office and spend time there.
He was forever cheerful and this endeared him to some of my colleagues at work. They were shocked to learn about his death and are finding it difficult to deal with it,” he said. He described Motswaledi as a happy person who would joke around and make people laugh.
“When I was appointed BDP secretary general he would often tell me that, ‘O mokwaledi mogolo yo supilweng ka monwana’. Last year when I was elected BDP secretary general he was the first to congratulate me and told me that no one will be doubtful that I am now a substantive BDP secretary general,” he said.