Wednesday, August 17, 2022

BPP power haggling rages on

The feud between former Botswana People’s Party Secretary General, Cornelius Gopolang, and his erstwhile central committee mates escalated this week with accusations of power mongering and disregard for party regulations flying back and forth.
The former secretary General, who resigned from the party’s inner circle last week, says he was disgruntled with the way some party members disregarded party regulations and continuously overruled decisions made by the party executive. Incumbent central committee members on the other hand dismiss him as a self obsessed man who does not respect central committee decisions except when they served his personal interests. Gopolang resigned from the BPP central committee last week following clashes with his colleagues over the model to be adopted in the unity talks between BPP, Botswana Alliance Movement and Botswana Congress Party. In an interview with The Sunday Standard on Friday Gopolang revealed that he had dedicated the previous few years to the BPP at the expense of his family and businesses, and he had decided to take a 6 months break from the hectic political schedule to pay closer attention to them.
The Sunday Standard is reliably informed that the reasons forwarded by Gopolang and BPP President Bernard Balikani to the effect that the former resigned for personal reasons are just a drop off the smoldering cauldron of disgruntlement and divisions within the BPP leadership. “This is just a smoke screen that is meant to hide the animosity that exists between Gopolang and other members of the BPP Central Committee,” said one insider.
One of the factors that are said to have played a major role in the surprise departure of Gopolang is his disgruntlement with the task force that was mandated to represent the party in the opposition unity talks.
The BPP had initially drafted a proposal that required BPP and BCP to disband and join it as the oldest political party in Botswana. The task force, led by Vice President Ramasu Mogatle, went back on the decisions of the central committee presenting an altered proposal that opted for a PACT.
BPP insiders say that though he pulled out of the task force in exasperation in July, Gopolang’s differences with other members of the BPP executive were so intense and irreconcilable that it was only a matter of time before he packed his bags and left.
Gopolang is also said to have been deeply disappointed with his long time friend Balikani, for failing to take action against central committee members who continuously reneged on decisions made by the party leadership and showing disregard for the party’s communication channels, to the extent of publicly disrespecting the party presidency.
Others also say that Gopolang had fallen out with Balikani as the President had long decided to refocus his devotion and affection to Vice President and task force leader Ramasu Mogatle whom they say does not see eye to eye with Gopolang. “The man decided to jump ship when he realized that he would never win the fight against the central committee, especially since he had lost favour with the president,” they said.
Gopolang this week revealed that the tranquility that he expected from his decision to take a break from politics had not really borne fruit. Apart from the incessant media probing, he said, he now has to deal with other political parties as they are now continuously inundating him with calls from influential members of BCP, BAM and BDP, who are enticing him to join them. Commenting on the issue, a BPP insider told The Sunday Standard that this new development, if indeed it is true, probably marks Gopolang’s complete departure from BPP. He said that though he remains a bona fide member of BPP, he would not be inconsiderate to offers from other political parties as “any Motswana is
free to join any party he wants.”
Commenting on the issue, BPP President Bernard Balikani, confirmed that indeed he received Gopolang’s resignation letter, together with his observations and suggestions on how the BPP leadership should be improved. He, however, refused to disclose the contents of the letter saying they remain private and confidential BPP matters.
Balikani said that allegations that the task force presented an altered proposal for opposition unity are unfounded as the BPP presented a similar proposal to the opposition unity delegates at a recent meeting on Sunday, even though the meeting failed to form a quorum. He said that Gopolang was only frustrated that his preferred model was not presented at the time that he wanted, adding that nothing much had changed in the model that was presented on Sunday. “O fedile pelo ka pela,” he said.
Vice President and task force leader, Ramasu Mogatle, said that the task force never reneged on any agreements made by the central committee. “The BPP is a political organization in a democratic dispensation and no man can impose what the party has unanimously agreed because of his personal ambitions,” said Mogatle. In another development the BCP summarily dismissed the proposal of a total merger that was made by the BPP at the recent meeting. The BPP central committee will thus convene today (Sunday) to chart the way forward in the opposition cooperationalks.


Read this week's paper