Discontent and disgruntlement ran supreme last weekend after the election of the new Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Youth Wing’s National Executive Committee. BDP youth who had attended the congress were unhappy with the hasty compromise that led to the election of the new committee, as they had hoped for a bruising election between the four contestants.
BDP’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Lee Lesetedi, said on Monday that the compromise agreement was facilitated by Minister Kitso Mokaila and Mokgweetsi Masisi on instructions from the president.
“The BDP National Council resolved that there will be no elections at the youth wing congress and urged the candidates to strike a compromise. This involved taking six names from each of the three lobby lists,” he said.
Bontsi Monare, Dithapelo Tshotlego and Alex Seanetso were contesting for the youth chairmanship. Former president of the University of Botswana Students Representative Council, Macdonald Rakgari, was also tipped to clinch the presidency, especially as he had no lobby list and was said to enjoy the support of President Ian Khama.
Though the elections were supposed to be held on Saturday, the new committee was already sworn in by mid Saturday, after contestants hammered out a hasty compromise.
However, Dithapelo Tshotlego withdrew from the race under mysterious circumstances, which irked many of his supporters, among them Boteti, Palapye, Ghantsi, Kgalagadi, Tswapong and Kweneng regions.
In the end Bontsi Monare was elected Chairman, Alec Seanetso Secretary General, Kopo Mononi Vice Chairman and Tuelo Metseyabeng treasurer. Rakgari could only manage an additional membership position.
While the newly elected committee was being sworn in, many of the disgruntled youth were idling outside in a show of defiance. They expressed disgust that the compromise was reached without their consent.
Explaining his withdrawal, Tshotlego said he was not happy with the way the compromise was formulated.
“I was not opposed to the compromise, but rather to the fact that it was made without the input of the masses,” he said.
But Lesetedi said it was impossible to consult the whole youth on the model of the compromise.
“Instead, the candidates were allowed to have a say and share the positions among themselves,” he said.
Kopo Mononi also explained that they kept the compromise issue a secret because they did not want the media to intervene and distort facts.
At the beginning of the congress, Women’s Wing Chairperson, Angelina Sengalo, congratulated the youth for agreeing to a compromise election of their committee.