BMDYL elections loom

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 07 March 2017   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
BMDYL elections loom

The die has already been cast for the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Youth League elective congress which is expected to be held during the Easter holidays. The BMDYL, which is notoriously known for infighting and factions, has started in a positive slate with the two lobby groups committing to respect each other during the campaigns. The outgoing BMDYL has been rendered dysfunctional as it was rocked by defections to the ruling party and failed to work with the current National Executive Committee led by Ndaba Gaolathe. One of the reasons that have been forwarded for the inactivity of the outgoing BMDYL leadership led by Phenyo Segokgo was that they belonged to a different faction than that of party leader, Gaolathe. The Patriot on Sunday sat with the two aspiring candidates for the BMDYL presidency Jacob Jacques Kelebeng and Kagelelo Banks Kentse to get their view on how they want to lead the troubled youth league. The two share one common vision of ending factions within the party and uniting the youth of the party as more than 70% of BMD membership are youth.

Kagelelo Kentse
He is currently a member of the outgoing BMDYL as Director of Policy and holds vast experience in youth politics having served in the African National Congress Youth League while a student in South Africa. He said his main focus is to unite BMD youth and this he expect to achieve by organising political trainings and workshops. “I will draw from my pot of experience in South Africa’s ruling party of ANC by having team building retreats in various regions,” said the confident kentse. The outspoken youth leader admitted that BMD is currently divided in factions that are threatening the future of the party. Put to him that he didn’t achieve much as part of the BMDYL outgoing committee, Kentse deposited that he was not political head, as such his influence was limited. “Now I will be the political head thus draw my roadmap whose aim is to unite the youth of the party who constitute more than 70% of party membership,” he said. One of the causes of factionalism within the party, according to Kentse, is party elders who want to play a role on the elections of BMDYL elections. “One of the reasons the outgoing committee was dysfunctional was that ahead of the elections some elders openly supported some lobby groups and when they lost they created parallel structures,” he revealed. As part of reconciliation, Kentse said that he will ensure that those who lose at the elective congress are not left in the cold but their expertise will be used. Asked if it is true he belonged to the MM (Mangole/Modubule) faction, Kentse rebutted the allegations, saying that he does not subscribe to factions. “Last year when the party was faced with turmoil due to Sidney Pilane’s membership I publicly stated that constitutionally he was right to be granted it but morally it was wrong for him to get membership in that manner,” revealed former  Midrand Region ANCYL chairperson. He stated that he will be supporting Gaolathe ahead of the BMD elective congress and will vote for him. Capacity building on politics will be his main focus and this will help the party youth to discuss issues from an informed point of view unlike now where some are grappling in political darkness about issues of national interest.

Jacob Jacques Kelebeng
He is one of the founding members of BASCO Student Movement for Democracy (BSMD) after they defected from BDP GS26. Just like his counterpart he is worried by divisions within the BMD, especially the youth League which has now motivated him to want to take the baton from Segokgo. “I believe that as a founding member of the party youth structures I know the party’s culture and values and I am in a better position to lead the BMDYL to stability,” said the soft spoken Kelebeng. Asked what he will do to ensure that there is unity within the party, Kelebeng said that communication is very cardinal and has been lacking in the party. “I will ensure that there is communication between the party leadership and youth structures because in the past the two used to issue conflicting statements,” he said, adding that this is one of main focal areas. The Motokwe-born politician said the BMDYL, which has been mandated to lead the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) youths, needs a strong leader ahead of the 2019 general elections. On allegations that he is being supported and funded by some party elders to challenge for the Youth League presidency, Kelebeng rubbished the allegations.  “But I cannot stop people from endorsing my candidature as they have shown, but as for funding is totally not true,” he said. Kelebeng has strong background on student politics having led University of Botswana Student Representative Council in 2012 and 2014. It was during his tenure as SRC President that UB Council banned political parties in the campus. They took the issue to court where successful won the case.  He traces his political initiation to Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as he was once member of BDP GS 26. He was part of the Gaborone Central BMD Youth Committee from 2012 to 2015 before he relocated to Takatokwane constituency where he is the interim chairperson and additional member for the BMD Kweneng region. He is also the event coordinator for the now well attended Motokwe Horse racing which is held annually in September.