Saturday, September 26, 2020

BPP Secretary General battles for political survival

Botswana People’s Party Secretary General, Edward Mpoloka, is desperately fighting to save his political future after the central committee barred him from contesting the 2009 general elections in Francistown West.

Mpoloka confirmed on Friday that he received a letter signed by party President, Bernard Balikani, informing him that the central committee had decided, at a meeting held in May, to withdraw his candidacy for the Botsalano Ward.

While the reasons for the withdrawal of Mpoloka’s candidacy are not yet clear, information reaching The Sunday Standard indicates that the decision comes after BPP’s parliamentary candidate in Francistown West, Whyte Marobela, raised a complaint that Mpoloka is decampaigning him by rooting for incumbent Member of Parliament and Botswana Democratic Party candidate, Tshelang Masisi.

Indications are that Mpoloka has never had a good working relationship with Marobela. Mpoloka on Friday confirmed that he has not been working well with Marobela but dismissed his accusations as frivolous.

“It is true that I had a number of disagreements with Marobela. But I have never leveled any accusations against him. For him to accuse me of campaigning for Masisi is quite preposterous,” he said.

Marobela defected to the BPP in disgruntlement after the Botswana Congress Party shunned him as a parliamentary candidate for Francistown West, favouring Botswana Alliance Movement Deputy Chairman, Matlhomola Modise, in the BAM/BCP marriage of convenience.

The feud between Marobela and Mpoloka reportedly started off immediately and they have never been able to reconcile. Mpoloka said on Friday that after joining the BPP, Marobela insisted on imposing his own preferred candidates for the council primaries, while he insisted on equal chances for all.

“I felt that every member of the BPP should be given a chance to contest primary elections,” he said. He added that even during the BPP primary elections Marobela was openly campaigning for his preferred candidates, which was wrong of him as he should have been neutral, especially since he was the parliamentary candidate and the team leader.

Mpoloka would later defeat Maggie Seolwane, Matlhomola’s preferred candidate twice in the Francistown West primary elections.

Mpoloka revealed that he has filed an appeal for consideration at the party’s national conference, which will convene during the July holidays.

Political analysts have expressed surprise at the recent developments because Mpoloka is a close ally of party president Bernard Balikani.

At a time when the BPP was facing its hardest challenges, with the youth wing and the central committee at loggerheads, and executive committee members resigning en-mass to join other political parties, Mpoloka was the only one who stood by Balikani.

Even when then Secretary General Cornelius Gopolang resigned from the BPP, Balikani went and handpicked Mpoloka, who had earlier resigned as deputy secretary general, to fill in the void created by Gopolang, a move that sparked a lot of discontent among many BPP functionaries.

Mpoloka maintained on Friday that the central committee took a hasty decision and failed to investigate the accusations leveled by Marobela.

Many are surprised that Balikani and his central committee would take such a drastic decision which, if it sails through at the national conference, will spell doom for Mpoloka’s political future within the BPP.

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