*JACOB TACQUES KELEBENG
We reaffirm our commitment to a free and unfettered press. As Young Progressives we believe you are valuable partners in this journey to a new Botswana.
Those of you who were here for our last press briefing in 16th April 2018, you will recall that we called upon the president to expel the then DISS director Isaac Seabelo Kgosi. We further called for the speedy prosecution of Mr Kgosi because of his alleged crimes during his tenure as the head of the secret agency. Furthermore, we take this opportunity to caution the new DISS director Brigadier Magosi against making the same mistakes made by his predecessor, we read from different media sources that the DISS is entangled in the BDP wars and is providing intelligence to the president relating to his political battles with former president Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama. We advise him to focus on eliminating real crime, not political opponents. We say to him ; Do not lead the country again into that dangerous and perilous path.
We spoke on the issue of allowance increment which we have since learnt has been increased by a paltry 200BWP for off campus students and 100BWP for on campus student. The amount of increment is deeply disappointing. We had pleaded and hoped the government would atleast reverse the allowance to the same amount it was before being slashed by the Khama regime. The new allowance will do very little to improve the welfare of student in tertiary schools especially those from poor backgrounds. It is on this basis we call for a further review of the allowance to an amount that will cushion the students against the harsh economic conditions young learners often find themselves in. The same exercise must be extended to those in internship programme.
We also spoke of our relations with tertiary students and SRCs. As Young progressives, we continue to work with students from across tertiary institutions on issues affecting them. Our efforts are bearing fruit. Just recently, we assisted Megasize SRC last year with their case against management after they were expelled for dubious reasons without even being accorded a hearing. We are glad that the high court of Botswana ordered that the SRC members been reinstated, they are currently pursuing their studies at the college as we speak.
Update on tertiary Institutions
Over the past couple of months, we have met both formally and informally with several SRC’s, mostly from private institutions to discuss how we can cooperate with each other in our common goal of advocating for student rights. These discussions have been highly successful and have allowed as the APYL to be an effective partner in this cause. We note with concern the chaos that is alleged to be going on at International Aviation Solutions popularly known as AIS. The school is said to be under capacitated to carry out its mandate of training young pilots. Currently, they only have one plane being used for teaching, this causes students to delay in reaching the required flying hours and therefore overstaying in the institutions when they should have otherwise completed their programmes. Students are even having to pay for some exams as the sponsorship period elapses without having them completed their programmes. The students have raised complaints with both BQA and DTEF, their cries have gone unanswered since 2013. The living conditions are also said to be deplorable, there is limited water and food, electricity is often unavailable, accommodation and transport logistics are also poor. Those that try raise these issues with management are said to be threatened with expulsions. The students have been left feeling helpless as the directors are said to be close to powerful people in government. As the APYL we condemn the AIS management, we call on them to resolve this matter in the soonest possible time. We call upon you the members of the press to put a microscope on such issues, expose these dubious institutions and rescue our young ones from a bleak future.
GUC is also another institution that is grossly violating the rights and freedoms of students. The management has declared an unholy war on students, especially members of the SRC. Members of the SRC have been suspended whilst others continue to be threatened on a daily basis with expulsions for simply advocating for what they are entitled to; quality education. It is ridiculous situation where you even have students being summoned for disciplinary hearings for Facebook posts.
There is another disturbing case at Technical Colleges, where apprentice practical exams were cancelled in June 2018 for no apparent reason. There was never any explanation given to students nor consultations even up now. Many have lost a lot, more especially those who are self-sponsored and those sponsored by companies, paying rent and food, nothing has been done, not even communication to companies they work for. The matter was brought to Permanent Secretary Mma Ramoroka who has done nothing to address it.
These are just some of the issues encountered by the tertiary students in this country. We call upon relevant stakeholder to work on resolving this issues and give this young people a chance at prosperous future. We as the APYL will continue in our advocacy role by exposing injustice anywhere it exists and coming up with practical solutions to problems, we are committed to this cause. Or enemy uses a divide and conquer method of isolating students and making them to feel helpless in the face of adversity, we therefore call upon all SRC’s and student to make us aware of any matters where they feel their rights are being violated, we will fight with you!
Our party, the Alliance for Progressives held its policy forum on the 14th-15th July 2018 in Mochudi, where we discussed our policy document and the constitution. The policy document focuses on significant reform, revitalization and modernization of our nation’s governance and economy. It sets the agenda on the transformation of the socio-economic conditions of the majority of the people. The content of the document will be shared to the members of media and public soon after amendments that were suggested and adopted by the members of AP at the Policy Forum.
It is worth noting however, and I am pleased to be sharing this with you, that the AP has adopted a quota system for women, youth and marginalised groups in leadership positions of the various structures of the AP. Fifty percent of the leadership positions will be exclusively reserved for these groups to the extent possible. This will also be entrenched in the constitution when the AP ultimately assumes power. We are looking to extensively revamp the country’s constitution as the current one is too ancient as is no longer serving its purpose
Primary Elections and General Elections
The AP will be holding its first phase of primary elections in 20 constituencies this month on 25th August 2018. So far we have about 75 youth vying for council seats and 1 for MP. In our youth league we have Jacob Kelebeng contesting MP seat at Takatokwane constituency while Gaone Majere, Phemelo Kedumele, Amantle Moeti, Legodile Mothibi, Mpho Motswakhumo, Thebeyame Gabatshele, Mbiganyi Taka, Olebile Motsamai, Gogontle Same and Collen Kgari are contesting for council seats at their respective constituencies. Young Progressives have since offered unconditional support to all youth and marginalized groups participating in primary elections, we urge all the progressives to vote for the youth and the marginalized to ensure that the party meet the 50% quota.
Cooperation with other opposition parties
As the young progressive we reassert our position, which is consistent with that of the mother party that we should only work with those that we share the same values with. We as a party continue to explore possible ways of cooperation with other political parties. However, we will not allow this to distract us from preparing for the 2019 elections in earnest. We continue to sell the AP brand to the general public as an alternative to the Botswana Democratic Party. As parting shot, we take this opportunity to encourage all eligible Batswana to register to vote in the coming month. It is a patriotic obligation of every Motswana
*Jacob Jacques Kelebeng is President-Young Progressives (AP-YPL)