The bubble for President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s circle of friends at Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) could burst anytime soon, Botswana Guardian has learnt.It has since emerged that the once mighty Masisi camp is at war with itself as there is no longer trust between men and women who walked side by side when they ensured that Masisi retains his seat as party chairman in Tonota last year.
Masisi who at the time was Vice President defending his seat against Minister Nonofo Molefhi. This is the camp, which was said to be united, and would do anything to protect the then chairman who would later this year become party leader and president of the country.Fresh information has emerged that it is no longer all merry within the President’s circle as fellow democrats are no longer in good books with some going in pairs while others are lone rangers.
The tension is said to have been caused by the need for close association to the president to secure future influential positions in the party. At some point the team was accused of orchestrating a plan to ensure that parliamentary and council candidates who did not support Masisi ahead of the Tonota congress should be punished during the two batches of the party’s Bulelwa-Ditswe held in January and August this year.
Information gathered shows that the fight to be close to the president started just a few months after Masisi ascended to the presidency. The key figure in the blame game is alleged to be party Secretary General Mpho Balopi who is said to be pushing away his colleagues far away from the President with the aim of allegedly positioning himself to be the only close associate.
This development according to information gathered has not sat well with Balopi who is also BDP’s parliamentary candidate for Gaborone North Constituency. A motion of no confidence against Balopi was allegedly recently planned on grounds that as head of the secretariat, he is failing the party.
The BDP meeting in Palapye on the 11th August 2018 where Bulela-Ditswe candidates for the final batch were being addressed is said to have been one of the platforms where Balopi’s failure was shared with fellow democrats who were also equally disappointed with the postponement of the primaries on the 25th of August 2018. This was one of the platforms where his downfall was to take effect.
In one of an intercepted conversation Balopi expresses disappointment about people who go around badmouthing him that he is de-campaigning some of the BDP candidates. He is also worried that some of his trusted rank and file members have changed allegiance to people who will never assist them in their lives while he had taken care and appreciated such people.
Botswana Guardian is in possession of a conversation between Balopi and a certain ‘D4D’ whom Balopi is not happy that he has distanced himself from the secretary general and is participating in meetings that are meant to discredit him (Balopi) where D4D has allegedly claimed that the SG was giving him sinister assignments.
He is also not happy that D4D did not alert him about an alleged motion of no confidence that was being planned against him. “I have never betrayed anyone even all the three presidents I served under- Festus Mogae, Ian Khama and Masisi I have remained loyal to them. They are my elders I respect them. You think I am a fool and I am not.
People come to me with recording of what you said others just come and make representations of what you said in conversations you had with them. You will be speaking to people you think you are in the same journey together. “You have moved away from me and are promoting whatever you are promoting. And the problem is that you know too much.
I have never assigned you anything sinister to undertake within the party. You also knew about a motion of no confidence on me but you did not say anything to me,” said Balopi in the audio conversation. In the conversation D4D denied being part of the plan but indicated that he heard about it during the Palapye meeting.
He also denied sharing with Vice President and party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane about being made to undertake sinister assignments by Balopi. According to reports Balopi is expected to defend his seat next year during a BDP Congress against former party chairman and MP for Tati East Samson Moyo Guma. Guma is reported in local media to have revealed that fellow democrats have lobbied him to contest.
Guma was also part of Masisi’s campaign team for chairmanship last year. Balopi said he could not comment as he was out of the country. He said he would be back in the country on Thursday. The secretary general also said he would not be able to respond via WhatsApp when requested if the questions could be channeled through such form of communication.