Friday, December 3, 2021

Balopi on shaky ground ahead of BDP elective congress

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General Mpho Balopi has lost confidence from some of his constituency councilors as he battles to retain his position in the upcoming party elective congress.

Balopi, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Gaborone North and his six councilors claimed the constituency with a resounding victory in the 2019 general elections.

Councilor for Phakalane ward Nicolas Lebogang accused some councilors within the constituency of conniving to topple Balopi.

Lebogang said it is shocking that a select few BDP councilors have become distant adding that they have now aligned with Balopi’s challenger.

“I expected my fellow party councilors to stick with our MP during these trying times more so that he has been loyal to us, he sacrificed quite a lot for us to be where we are right now,” he said.

“We need someone like him, someone who understands the electorates,” said Lebogang.

He said some councilors are recruiting others to join the anti Balopi faction.

“There are six councilors from the constituency. We all belong to the BDP but some of these councilors are not rallying behind Balopi. In fact, they are recruiting us, those who are loyal to Balopi to join their faction,”

“We have been working together as a collective pre and post the 2019 general elections but an external influence started enticing these councilors,” said Lebogang.

On the other hand, one councilor who preferred anonymity said although Balopi played a pivotal role in his campaign, they no longer share the same ideologies.

“I have got nothing against him personally but I feel that there is need for a new face and that person might emerge from us as councilors or someone outside,” said councilor.

For his part Tlamelo Radikolobe of Marang-Tsholofelo East ward pledged his support and loyalty to Balopi saying that there is need to continue with unity.

“ I do not want to believe that there is any councilor who is against our MP but in any case you will never know but if there is any then they have the liberty to associate with whoever they so wish,” said Radikolobe.

Radikolobe indicated that in an effort to show and strengthen the unity that exists, there will be a tour of the constituency soon.

“I personally have not been approached by anyone seeking a vote for either the Secretary general position or to support them in the upcoming party primary elections but if there is any they will come forward not that I promise to rally behind them,” added Radikolobe.

On the other hand, Councilor for Block 8 ward Jack Mphitlhang stated that Balopi is youthful and can still contest for both seats of MP and Secretary General Positions.

“In a journey that we have embarked on, everyone is entitled to any association they so wish to pursue , so if anyone feels they want join forces with whoever they are free to do so,” added Mphitlhang.

He further said he has no qualms with Balopi defending his position as Secretary General.

“It is important that we rally behind him because he continues to sacrifice a lot for this constituency and of course I still stand behind him to succeed,” added Mphitlhang.

For his part, BDP Gaborone region chairman Lotty Manyepedza dismissed any tension between Balopi and his councilors saying that both parties have been working harmoniously.

“Balopi has been conducting meetings with his councilors and they have been supportive, so I have no reason to doubt his councilors because I have not seen any tension between the two,” added Balopi.

Manyepedza said no report has been received by the region stating that Balopi and his councilors are not in good terms.

Manyepedza said councilors remain committed to their MP, saying that in all the meetings he attended he has not noted any strange behaviour.

Efforts to speak to Balopi proved futile as he would not pick calls or respond to messages sent to him.

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