Newly appointed Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, did not waste any time ingratiating himself into his duties as the BDP head honcho.
Hardly a week after he was elected Secretary General, Balopi on Friday convened a meeting of all BDP Subcommittee Chairpersons and Secretaries, at which he laid out his road map.
Speaking to Sunday Standard on the sides of the impromptu meeting, the Chairman of the Communications and International Relations sub-committee, Lesang Magang, said all of the BDP sub committees were represented.
“The Secretary General laid out his roadmap going forward. He told us his plans and aspirations for the party, and clearly explained that he wants BDP operations to be improved,” said Magang.
Key to Balopi’s pitso was his call for all BDP members, especially office bearers, to develop a culture of consultation within the party. He is said to have told the subcommittee members that such forums will become the norm at BDP, so that the leadership and its structures can brain storm and formulate ideas and strategies that will carry the party forward.
“Balopi simply wants us to do things better and more efficiently. I believe he will re-invigorate the BDP into a successful and efficient organization,” said Magang.
Balopi is also said to have called on the BDP structures to develop a sense of volunteerism and tap into the skills and abilities that abound within the party’s membership to drive the party forward.
The BDP is planning a press conference by the end of September, at which Balopi will present his plan of action. A key element of the action plan will be the BDP’s campaign strategy hence forth until 2014.
“The president has urged us to go on campaign mode. We will put in place new strategies to ensure that BDP remains the party of choice even after the general elections,” said Magang.
He, however, could not shed more light on the issue, saying Balopi will unveil his campaign plan at the September press conference.
Sunday Standard is informed that the campaign strategy is an issue that President Khama takes very seriously. Khama is said to have told Balopi that his paramount task is to reverse the misfortunes that BDP has been suffering lately and ensure that the party will be in a position to take on the might of the umbrella at the 2014 general elections.
After the 2009 elections, the BDP suffered a deadening blow when it lost stalwarts like Botsalo Ntuane, Gomolemo Motswaledi, Wynter Mmolotsi, Kabo Morwaeng and Sidney Pilane, who broke away to form the Botswana Movement for Democracy.
The recent defection of Kentse Rammidi is also said to have hurt Khama.
Rammidi is held in high esteem within the BDP, and is often compared to BDP Chairman Daniel Kwelagobe, who enjoys massive support from the grass roots.
Rammidi’s close affection with the masses worked for the BDP during the recent by-elections. He is credited with masterminding the recent by-elections and ensuring that BDP retains all of its constituencies. His hard work also saw Tonota North Member of Parliament Fidelis Molao being shooed into parliament after beating the combined might of the BMD and Botswana Congress Party in a by election that was occasioned by the passing away of Baledzi Gaolathe.
Political pundits have, however, opined that Balopi lacks the street savvy and I-am-one-of-yours attitude that made Rammidi the darling of the masses. They say he is too polished and too upper class to be able to reach to the poor within the BDP.
But Balopi’s henchmen disagree.
They insist that Balopi will not have any problem getting down and dirty, and that he has a plus in that he brings corporate governance into the BDP structures.
In a previous interview, BDP Acting Executive Secretary Lee Lesetedi said Balopi’s unanimous election is a vote of confidence.
Balopi, who is the nephew of former Speaker and cabinet minister Patrick Balopi, becomes the seventh BDP Secretary General. His predecessors include Daniel Kwelagobe, Sir Ketumile Masire, Jacob Nkate, Gomolemo Motswaledi, Thato Kwerepe and Kentse Rammidi.
Balopi has also promised to change BDP operations and make them more efficient.