As divisions unravel within Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) youth, the party Chairman Mokgweetsi Masisi is the latest target as the Young Turks gun for him in the coming youth elective congress.
Botswana Guardian understands that as the youth descend on Tsabong this coming week one of the contestants who is allegedly close to the party chairman is being targeted with the aim of frustrating Masisi. It is alleged that the ongoing talks between various lobby groups to form one lobby group is aimed at going head to head with Simon Mavange who is said to be enjoying Masisi’s support.Mavange is currently the Secretary General of BDP Youth Wing National Executive Committee. He has allegedly also had a fallout with his outgoing Chairman Andy Boatile who is not supporting him. Currently there are six candidates for the chairmanship after Collen Mochotlhi formed an alliance with Thabo Autlwetse, (Autlwetse to contest as Chairman while Mochotlhi would contest as Secretary General).
It is alleged that other candidates Bruce Nkgakile, Ronnie Kgathi, Vuyo Notta and Fox Segwai are also in talks among themselves. Highly placed sources have indicated that the compromise idea is a small fish as bigger things are planned for the congress to down Mavange- the fall which young democrats believe will extend to Vice President Masisi.
This development is said to have been triggered by some young democrats whom on various social media platforms have indicated that those who are in the race with Mavange are anti-Masisi. Masisi is expected to defend his seat as Chairman of the BDP during the party’s elective congress in July this year. Information from the BDP corridors is that he would face a challenge from Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development, Nonofo Molefhi and former Ambassador to Japan Jacob Nkate. Outgoing Youth Chairman Boatile has since expressed concern over the youth allowing the elders to interfere in their campaigns.
He said all the candidates must support the current party leadership and aspiring candidates should shun the interference of elders in their affairs. On the cards the delegates are said to be determined to ensure that from the floor there would be a call for motion of no confidence on the outgoing committee.
“This will mean that reports from Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary General would be rejected. This would in essence ensure that Mavange as part of the outgoing committee would have failed the BDP youth and would not be fit for office,” said a source close to the development. This publication has seen communication between youth members in a closed social media group where some of the plans are being hatched. Another bullet that could catch Mavange is that of age limit. It is said that at the time of the election Mavange will be 35 years and some months, which would trigger a request for proper interpretation of the party constitution and guidelines for BDP NYEC. This could also spell doom for Mavange if his age could be used against his candidature.
“We are not party to such allegations you are raising. For us it is about the party. We have no problem with Masisi or any other candidate that could be interested in the leadership of the party. Our aim is to build structures that would be active even beyond the July Congress. We just hear the news that Mavange is enjoying the support of VP. We suspect VP is not with Mavange but Mavange is buying attention from VP by peddling propaganda against others saying they support Molefhi,” said Molebedi Lunga Oduetse- Spokesperson for Autlwetse campaign team.
He claimed that they are also in talks with Mavange to join alliance with them with the aim of uniting the youth. Oduetse stated that his camp is aware that there are communications from people purporting to be their supporters that have been circulating on social media. “We distance ourselves from any communication that does not come from myself, Mochotlhi or Autlwetse. Some may be from well-wishers not directly involved with the campaign while others could be propaganda”.
Mavange has since distanced himself from enjoying support from Masisi. He said he is sponsoring his campaign and gets assistance from well-wishers and not the Vice President. He expressed confidence that BDP youth would express their choice through the ballot without any influence.
Nkgakile who is alleged to be enjoying support from some of the constituencies said he is not aligned to anyone. There are reports that he is also a Masisi’ s man but Nkgakile denied saying, “I am an independent candidate not aligned to anyone because I am a man of principle. I am running a clean campaign and I know what I want for youth of BDP. I have travelled around the country and the youth were impressed about my campaign message,” said Ngakile.
Nkgakile stated that once in office he would work with anyone who would be in the party leadership. He also claimed ignorance of any plans targeted at Mavange or Masisi. Nkgakile said he also learns of the matter from the media and social networks. Notta and Segwai who at the time of going to press could not be reached for comment, were said to be travelling across the country canvassing for votes. The congress will be officially opened by President Ian Khama on Friday next week while elections will be held the following day (Saturday).