The BNFYL has seen it fit to convene this (meeting) to share its position on some of the topical issues that affect our people in view of the recent developments in the country. We therefore are sincerely thankful for the members of the press herein present who have seen it fit to grace our press conference.
2014 General Elections
Firstly, we take this opportunity to thank the multitudes of Batswana who have voted for the combined opposition parties, the UDC, in the past elections. The numbers that have voted the UDC as well as the number of parliamentary seats amassed by the UDC has laid to rest the myth that the BDP is immortal. Furthermore, the election results have also proved that contrary to what the doubting Thomases who are against opposition unity have been saying, a combined opposition block can decisively take the BDP out of power. We shall therefore keep the UDC doors open to all those who crave regime change and want to see the BDP out of power. We further thank the media, specifically the private media, on the role they played in informing the electorates in the previous elections. The media plays an integral part in our democracy and only through an independent, critical and fearless media can our country progress.
The National Budget Speech
We wish to state categorically clear that this year’s national budget has failed to address the challenges that our people face, especially the youth. The ruling party continues firstly to fail to outline tangible ways of creating sustainable job opportunities for many of our youth who are roaming the streets without work. Apart from the usual short-term programmes such as Internship programme and the envisaged Tirelo Sechaba, many of our youth have been sidelined from the country’s economy as the ruling party fails to create sustainable job opportunities for them.
The BNFYL believes that the national budget must prioritise job creation and empowerment of our youth. To this end, we expected the budget to outline, in clear terms, government strategy in ensuring that our youth are able to participate meaningfully in the economic activities of our country. We have called for the empowerment of small and medium businesses owned by young people through ensuring that they benefit directly from government procurement and tenders. To this end, we expected that the budget will set-out and reserve a percentage on all major government tenders and procurements exclusively for citizen-owned businesses, with a clear bias towards the youth. We are disappointed that as of now, the majority of our citizens are spectators in our economy and do not benefit sufficiently from big government tenders.
Abuse of national broadcaster
The BNFYL has observed the continuing trend whereby the ruling BDP is favoured unfairly by the state broadcaster at the expense of other political parties. Recently, a black-out on Kgotla meetings convened by members of the opposition M.P’s was carried out by Botswana Television. This trend has been on-going since the inception of Btv, but it has since risen to new heights under the presidency of Ian Khama. Prior to last year’s general elections, Btv was reduced to a propaganda mouthpiece of the BDP, often airing the majority of BDP activities as opposed to those of the opposition. The BDP’s monopoly over the state-media presents challenges to our democracy as it defies common democratic principles of fairness. Control over access to information by the ruling party is a danger to the growth of our democracy as our citizens are denied the opportunity to balance different sides of stories they are given by the state-media.
We therefore call for the total independence of our state media. Specifically, we demand that the state media outlets be removed from the office of the president and be turned into true national broadcasters controlled by an independent board as is the case with the SABC. In this way, our state broadcasters shall discharge their mandate of informing the nation adequately and perform its watch-dog roles without fear.
Rampant Corruption and Mal-Administration
Recent developments with regard to corruption investigations against the DIS boss, Isaac Kgosi, have proven that the DCEC as well as the Directorate of Public Prosecutions do not have potential to perform their mandate. The reports in the private media that the DIS has been able to penetrate the DCEC structure to the extent that the security needs of the DCEC have been supplied by a company providing clandestine spying activities on behalf of the DIS have corroded the confidence that the nation has in the DCEC. We are doubtful as to whether the investigation and ultimate prosecution of the DIS boss will see the light of day. Our doubts are further strengthened by the fact that Isaac Kgosi remains the occupant of his office as investigations are on-going and he has not been interdicted.
The BNFYL also wishes to express its disappointment with the manner in which the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has handled the case of the former minister, Neo Moroka wherein he shot and killed one Kealeboga Danster. The refusal to charge and prosecute the former minister by the DPP proves that the criminal justice system is purely designed for the poor members of our society and protects the rich and powerful. We call on the Director of Public Prosecutions to up-hold the integrity and independence of his office by following all criminals without fear or favour.
BNFYL Revival of Structures
In an effort to intensify our efforts towards 2019, the BNFYL has seen the need to revive its structures across the country. We have resolved to engage in two phases towards ensuring that we reach the length and breadth of this country to sell the message of the UDC. To this end, from the 28th June 2015 we shall tour and hold regional conferences as well as electing regional committees in the Kweneng, Ghanzi, Kgalagadi, Southern and South Central regions. The purpose of this exercise will be to meet with our members and organize structures so as to enable them to campaign for the party effectively. The second phase will start on the 29th August and it will involve touring the areas of MASEBO, North Central and northern regions. On the 26 September 2015, the Youth League shall tour the North West and Boteti regions.
The BNFYL shall further hold a special congress on the 06th November 2015, the purpose of which will be the review of the BNFYL constitution and adoption thereof. The special congress shall be held in Kang.
Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL)