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UDC Youth Leagues rivalry intensifies

Publishing Date : 11 February, 2016

Author : JASON RANTHATSA

BMD Youth league president, Phenyo Segokgo

A war of words has erupted between the youth leagues of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The bone of contention is the interference of other contracting parties in the affairs of the other especially during elective congresses. UDC is a coalition of three political parties, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples’ Party (BPP).

BNF Youth League spokesperson, Malatsi Mokhubami told this publication in an interview that they were deeply disturbed by the way the youth specifically those from BMD were meddling in the internal affairs of their party.

He singled out BMD activist, Thatayaone Gaboitaolelwe and Councillor Sesupo Jacobs as ring leaders of factionalism within UDC insisting that the duo are fond of poking their noses in the internal affairs of the BNFYL.

“Through our secretary general, Arafat Khan, we have already written a letter of complaint to the secretariat, citing our displeasure at which some youth within BMD are conducting themselves. We are pleading with our fellow comrades at BMD to desist from making any commentary or be involved covertly or overtly in anything to do with BNF,” he stated.

In response, BMD Youth league president, Phenyo Segokgo said it was unfortunate that some members of his party were out of order by being involved in the matters relating to the BNF. “Even though three political parties are affiliated to the UDC; each party is independent, has its own constitution, ideology and unique administration and we must respect that. I am going to reprimand all those who are undermining the rules and regulations of the party and I will not hesitate to take further disciplinary action,” Segokgo told this publication.

BNFYL will hold its decisive elective congress in May. Though the outgoing committee is yet to issue a writ of elections, information reaching Weekend Post suggests that Kago Mokotedi and Khumoekae Richard will vie for the presidency. This publication understands that the current BNFYL vice president, Kagiso Thutlwe will be contesting for secretary general against one Mabote Mabote while Malatsi Mokhubami will defend his position as the spokesperson.

An insider within the BNFYL told this publication that warring factions are evolving between Mokotedi loyalists and Richard supporters. He further implied that majority of high ranking BMD members are fighting tooth and nail to ensure that Richard wins the presidency while Kago Mokotedi has the support of influential and powerful people within the BNF.

Kago Mokotedi, one of the BNFYL presidential aspirants told Weekend Post in an interview that there was a party within BMD called OTP, an acronym for ‘Operation Tsaya Puso’, which had embarked on a mission to annihilate UDC. Though he could not disclose members of that ‘party’, Mokotedi said this movement has been fuelling divisions within UDC all along.

“This brief party within BMD promotes factionalism and bickering and it has suffered embarrassing defeat in all elective congresses of respective UDC affiliates. This party caused fracas at BMDYL elections that was held at Mochudi and now they are using tribalism to instil divisions amongst youth of BNF but I must warn them that they will not succeed because BNF is an old organization with revolutionary discipline,” remarked Mokotedi.

On the contrary, impeccable sources at BMD told this publication that last year at the Mochudi congress, some members of BNF youth league made it clear publicly that they supported Phenyo Segokgo and in the process they were implicated in electoral irregularities. “Within BMD there are two factions, Calm Voice and OTP and the latter lost elections at Mochudi and Ghanzi respectively because of BNF involvement in BMD electoral process. Now it is our chance to infiltrate BNF so that our preferred candidates may win,” contended a BMD member who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Reached for comment, political analyst, Dr. Kaelo Molefe said the friction between UDC youth leagues will not derail opposition cooperation. He observed that factions usually arise during elective congresses because of election fever and after elections, everything returns to normal.

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