The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) youth are lobbying for their current youth league president, Lotty Manyapetsa, to occupy the position of party chairman in the July election.
“He has been approached by a number of constituencies to stand for party chairman, a rough estimation would round up the constituencies to about 20 if not more, he has also been approached by us as the youth, “said one youth who refused to be named.
BCP, a new entity that has emerged from the merger of two opposition parties, the former BCP and Botswana alliance Movement (BAM) is expected to hold elections for a new executive committee this July. Manyapetsa has made no secret of the fact that he thinks that BCP needs to co-operate with the Botswana National Front (BNF) if they want to take on the ruling party.
He recently told The Sunday Standard that should he win the position of party chairman, ensuring co-operation between the two parties would be a priority on his main agenda.
Some of the BCPYL members who also chose to speak anonymously said that they advocated for the youth president because they felt it was time for the youth to balance the political landscape within the party.
They said that they wanted to shift focus from the elders having to occupy all the important seats within the party to the youth.
The youth members said that they choose their president because, amongst other things, he has travelled well across 37 constituencies and rallied to people in these different places using his own sources of funding.
“We have discussed with him the need to have him co-ordinating both internal and external structures of the party should he win the chairman’s seat because we have realised that the two haven’t always been linked together but its imperative that they are,” said the youth.
The BCP youth said that they also lobbied for Manyapetsa because in his years as president of BCPYL, he had brought the unions, tertiary students and the Dikgosi closer to the party. According to them, he had entered the BCPYL when it was next to nothing and turned it into a recognisable entity.
On his part, Manyapetsa said that he believes he deserves the seat because he had been able to transform the image of the party through his work with tertiary schools and the workers. He said that he believes the main concern for 2010 should be opposition party co-operation. He also pointed out that he has been brave enough to face the Khama administration, especially because he has ignored death threats, which he has no doubt were from the DIS during the time he supported the unions.
Manyepetsa said that once he was voted in, he would ensure that the party would deal closely with issues affecting the workers, students, people with disabilities and those in the lower brackets.
“I also promise that I will work hard to make sure that the party is able to stand for all the 57 constituencies by the year 2014,” said the president.
He, however, wants to caution his party mates who are standing for elections against putting the party’s name at risk by playing dirty politics. “I want all involved to stand against one another with dignity and, like in a proper democracy, allow the people to decide who they want to vote for.”