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Big guns eye BDP elective positions

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Magang
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) central committee elections scheduled for 2021 promise to be an interesting battle of the ‘Who’s and Who’s’ of the country’s ruling party.

As the campaigns for positions has started, some party big names are starting to resurface again seeking glory.

According to insiders, most of the current cabinet ministers holding party elective positions are likely to see dust, Mmegi has learnt.

Before, the BDP central elections have always been closely contested and provided interesting scenarios. They have been filled with so much drama, upsets and surprises with huge amounts of money spent by contestants to win votes from opposing camps. However, for the most, the deciding factors have always been the big names, whether through contesting or declaring their sides.

With the elections set for 2021, already party big names throwing their names in the hat are Lesang Magang and Mpho Balopi who will battle it out for position of secretary general. The secretary general position is the most powerful one in the party and usually the person who currently occupies it may use his power to disadvantage other contenders.

Both Balopi and Magang have financial muscle to run the campaign. Balopi is the current party secretary general.

Information reaching this publication indicates that both two have secretly started campaigning. “Some members who are alleged to be rallying behind Magang do receive threats and one of the members was expelled from the party recently. Of course, Balopi had done groundwork but Magang is slowly penetrating it. He (Magang) has been invited to different BDP platforms like in February, he was having a seminar with University of Botswana BDP members teaching them about issues of leadership. He is slowly getting support from some members of the party. On the contrary, Balopi has his loyal supporters, again he has his usual enemies. Some members want him gone because they believe he contributes to

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party’s instability. Again, they believe that if he is going to be pushed out, some of his loyal people might defect,” the source said.

Mmegi has learnt that both camps have started to draw their lobby lists. Both camps according a source, will need a blessing from President Mokgweetsi Masisi since he is the one who could determine the team that wins.

“If things could stabilise quickly regarding COVID-19, then the party would be able to hold activities at (both) branch and regional levels because these are critical party structures that could determine the person who wins in the next year. The mandates for (both) branch and regional committees have long elapsed, but the constituencies could not do that because of COVID- 19. Remember the current central committee could have been elected in 2019 but it was postponed because of general election and now is postponed again because of COVID-19,” another source said.  The source said the current situation that the country is faced with needs a committee which could help the President with ideas on how to revive economy.

Still on the matter, Magang said he is willing to serve the party in different positions if the BDP members want to deploy him for that.

“It is not true. I have not started campaigning.  Our constitution does not allow us to do so until an official announcement has been made. I have not made up my mind if I will contest or not,” Magang said.

Magang has served the BDP in different positions and in 2018 to 2019, he took part in drafting the party’s manifesto for the general elections.

Efforts to get comment from Balopi were not successful as he was not answering his mobile phone.



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