- BDP likely to migrate SG role to secretariat
- Balopi believed to enjoy support of regions
- Sources say his eyes are on becoming vice president
The Secretary General (SG) of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Mpho Balopi, is believed to be considering challenging Vice President Slumber Tsogwane for the party’s chairmanship at this year’s elective congress.
Following postponement of the elective congress in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BDP is expected to hold its most decisive event halfway through 2022. While the names of candidates for party positions are still unknown, sources say Balopi is likely to challenge Tsogwane, who is currently Acting President, for the position of party chairperson.
“There have been several discussions about Balopi challenging Tsogwane for chairmanship,” said a inside source. “A number of councillors and some people in party structures are backing him.”
Other impeccable sources say Balopi’s decision to face-off againstTsogwane is influenced by a BDP plan to move the position of SG to the secretariat and that the proposal is being mooted for tabling at the next national council of the party.
Balopi, who is the MP for Gaborone North, resigned from the cabinet last month saying he needed to dedicate more attention to serving the party and his constituency. “The BDP is democratic institution and it is not about individualism,” he said when he stepped doem as labour minister. “It is the members who decide on who they want.
“For years I have served the BDP very profoundly and I still have the desire to serve. I am willing to serve in any position I am called to but before I do, I would first have to engage with those who want me to serve and see if it is in the best interest of the party.”
He also confirmed that he was aware of a proposal to migrate the SG role to the secretariat. “Yes, it has been discussed in some forums but it has not been discussed at Central Committee level,” he said. “You must be aware that any alterations of the party constitution is discussed at the National Council and the Congress.”
BALOPI EYES VP SEAT?
Some observes within the BDP believe that Balopi’s decision to quit the cabinet was a calculated move to advance his ambition of becoming the country’s next vice president after the 2024 general elections, should the BDP win.
Sources say his masterplan is to take full control and win the confidence of all party structures and is said to enjoy the backing of some regions already, MPs and councilors included. “Remember that these numbers will be critical if he is to challenge Tsogwane for the chairmanship,” said one source.
“Tsogwane will obviously be counting on the backing of President Masisi. You should also note that Tsogwane has not really asserted his authority within the party since becoming chairman. His mettle will be truly tested at the congress. ”
Traditionally, the chairperson of the BDP becomes the vice president of the country.