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Guma takes war to Masisi, Balopi

Publishing Date : 18 December, 2018

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

A simmering tension between President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secretary general, Mpho Balopi and Tati West Member of Parliament, Samson Moyo Guma reached tipping point at a party meeting recently with the latter blasting the two and further threatening to “expose their underhand dealings”.


The two (Masisi and Guma) former buddies have had their relationship reach low levels recently after it became apparent that President Masisi and party secretary general, Balopi have become finger and nail. For better years Masisi and Guma have been good friends and political allies. It is said the relationship soured when Masisi overlooked Guma for a cabinet position which many thought could have doused the rivalry. Before then, Guma was a special commander of Masisi’s army, marshaling a contingent that coaxed Vice President Slumber Tsogwane to abandon his retirement plans.


However this week it is said Guma who is now fed up by a smear campaign peddled against him on local media decided to make the matter known to other democrats. “The party should discipline whoever does this because apart from tarnishing me; this is working against the party more so that elections are coming next year. It will depict us as criminals or party of crooks and this is done internally. So this should be nipped on the bud because it is bad,” Guma reportedly said this to party chairman and Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane.


“It is the leadership that is pushing the agenda, I am just collateral in a war involving the two men, President Masisi and his predecessor, Lt Gen Khama but I can also respond accordingly. There are a lot of things I know and I can spill the beans if this campaign continues.”
Apart from Masisi, it is said Guma read malice again from Balopi as the duo is likely to face each other for the position of Secretary General. For the record, Balopi and Masisi were not present at the meeting.


Upon hearing this from the livid MP who for a long time has been regarded as the party kingmaker, Tsogwane and other ministers who were uncomfortable with Guma’s outrage cooled him off. “This matter needs to be dealt with at a special setting, precisely a retreat where we would be able to address these kinds of issues,” Tsogwane reportedly told the democrats.


The media has been overflowing with reports that Guma through his company Unified Refineries Botswana (URB) has received loans from CEDA and failing to pay back the money. This has resulted with the latest information revealing that Guma is a troubled man with financial institutions turning the heat on him by suing the company P133 million, with over 26 sly tenders investigated.


This is not the way to go according to the outspoken MP who is said to be also eyeing the party Secretary General position at the upcoming party congress next year. Party Chairman Tsogwane concurs with him. “We should be united and protect each other.” For his part however, Guma could not confirm to this publication as to whether he indeed aired his displeasure to the party. “Im sorry I can’t reveal what we discuss in the party caucus. I am sorry I can’t help,” Guma responded to this publication’s inquiries on Thursday morning.


Party Chief Whip, Liakat Kablay said the party seems to be in trouble and it has been agreed that all the matters will be heard and solved. “We should be united next year and this is the message going to next year and the democrats agreed with that,” he said.  Guma remains a king maker in the greater scheme of things — serving as one of Masisi’s trusted men. Since 2015, Guma has been at the forefront of the election machinery that has ensured that Masisi wins and retains the party chairmanship in 2015 and 2017 respectively.


“He is a strategist. Very effective and leads from the front. When he believes in a cause he goes all the way,” hinted one of Guma’s allies. The party which is currently fighting divisions is likely to enter next year with deep splits handsome enough to hand the opposition governance. Before going to the make or break congresses next year, the party will have to appease disgruntled members like Guma at a retreat scheduled sometime early next year.


BDP enters next year’s elections with one thing in mind - to win convincingly. This is the only way that the party could perhaps patch up and ensure the presidency of Masisi goes on smoothly without hiccups to feed his detractors humble pie. In the last elections the party won power with a 47% popular vote and this was the first time this has happened in history since independence. Masisi has a challenge to change that - only if the party is united, BDP insiders say. 

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