Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secretary-general (SG), Mpho Balopi says he does not have any intention of challenging the current President Mokgweetsi Masisi nor Vice President Slumber Tsogwane. The BDP is going for its elective congress next year. This will be the first one since 2017.
“Some people are peddling untruths about me. It has been all over on social media that I am intending to challenge President Masisi in 2024 for the party presidency. The BDP has its norms and practices that have been there and I believe in them because those practices have helped the party to be what it is now. So, I am a true democrat who is guided by the party constitution and its practices.
Even when some friends in 2010 defected to the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), I stayed and fought for the party. So, I will not in anyway try to fight or contribute to party instability,” Balopi said this week.
Balopi added he respects the party leadership and he will always support Masisi. He said he could not be the one who is seen challenging the party president. Balopi said in 2019 he was against Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi when she was challenging the president even when it was her constitutional right to do so.
The party secretary-general said even if he does not like factions, whenever they are there, he has been on the faction that supports party leaders because he believes in unity. On other issues, Balopi said he is worried that some members have a tendency of lying, saying that he is close to former president Ian Khama to a point where he gets his campaign money from him.
“This issue of tarnishing each other’s name when we are in one party is not good. We need to unify ourselves in the BDP. No one is bigger than the party. This is our party and we joined it, it did not join us. Therefore, the party should always come first in whatever we do and if we fail to do so, opponents will take advantage of the situation,” he said.
Balopi also dismissed reports that he and President are not in good books or having problems. Just this month, the President was alleged to have chosen national strategy, communications and international relations committee without the secretary general’s input. Reports further suggest that some ministers and the party backbench are not happy with the President’s leadership style and on the other hand, some councillors have also openly criticised the President.
Balopi has been the BDP secretary-general when it was facing the toughest times like during the split that led to the BMD formation in 2010 and 2019 when it faced another split when some of the party members defected to form Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).