BNF Youth League has gone AWOL

Nicholas Mokwena - BG reporter
Tuesday, 29 January 2019
BNF Youth League has gone AWOL

Botswana National Front Youth League is said to have collapsed following resignations that marred the organisation since 2017.First to resign from the youth wing was the then President Khumoekae Richard. Richard has since joined the opposition Alliance for Progressives (AP). The resignations were said to have been caused by the hostile relationship between the BNYL and the party’s central committee.

Sources within the BNF have indicated that the once vibrant structure of the BNF has collapsed. “It is clear that they are not there because even when issues of national importance are discussed, we never hear their voice. This used to be one structure that was vocal.
“Other structures within the party and other youth movements in political parties and civil society used to follow in the footsteps of the BNFYL when it comes to issues that affect the country. They never meet, nor hold press conferences, let alone issue press releases. They do not contribute during the public discourse and have become irrelevant,” said an insider.

Sources have revealed that majority of the people elected in Mahalapye in 2016 have resigned and others have joined other political parties. BNF insiders argue that the youth league is even failing internally to defend the party or its leadership. Internal fights among the young people of the ‘Puophaa’ movement started during the 2016 Mahalapye congress which pitted Richard against Kago Mokotedi.

It was at this congress that the party leadership was accused of dividing the youth by aligning themselves with one of the camps. After assuming office the Richard-led executive got into a tussle with their predecessors led by Kemmonye Makatane regarding the office handover.

The previous committee was also accused of maladministration and misappropriation of funds. This was after about P65 000.00 went missing from the BNYL coffers. The funds have allegedly not been located up todate.
Despite this shortcoming the Makatane led youth league was praised for taking its leadership head-on when the BNF central committee prohibited Duma Boko to stand for president in 2010. Boko was then allowed to contest for the first time and has since then been at the helm of the BNF.

The current BNFYL is also said to be broke. There are allegations that the previous youth league has up-to-date failed to hand over to the current committee.Youth League President Velem Heii rubbished claims that his committee is inactive. Heii told this publication in an interview that his committee is alive. He accused his detractors of expecting his committee to always take head-on the leadership to show they are active. According to Heii he wants to build independent thinkers among the BNF youth. He confirmed that the failure of handing over of the previous committee has affected the performance of his committee.

“The issue of the P65 000 has of course affected us. But we did not just sit and fold our arms we sought assistance from fellow comrades so that we could have the office functional. The issue of handing over was sending us back and forth. So, we decided to leave the issue for the sake of our movement pending the finalisation by the BNFYL congress,” said the youth league president.

He said the youth this year will be hosting unemployment youth conference where all stakeholders would take part. The conference will go a long way in assisting the Umbrella for Democratic Change to well craft its 2019 manifesto on issues of unemployment. Previous committee Secretary General Arafat Khan declined to be drawn into discussing the matter. “I have played my part and have handed over to others to continue serving the BNF and the nation. If we also failed during our times as you say is alleged, let history judge us,” said Khan.

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