The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, has given members of the Botswana National Youth Council executive until April 30th to have resigned from any positions that they may be occupying in political parties.
For many years BNYC has been viewed as an extension of BDP branches.
A good number of past Executive Directors have in one or another been BDP activists.
Not long ago the current Executive Director, Fidelis Molao was the Deputy Executive Secretary of the ruling BDP.
His ambitions to contest for the position of Tonota North Member of Parliament constituency in the future are well documented.
Kgathi’s instruction follows a meeting he held with the BNYC Executive Council on March 16th, at which they discussed matters pertaining to the role of the BNYC and youth development.
A statement from the ministry states that Kgathi urged the BNYC executive members to resign from active politics as this undermines the purpose for which the BNYC was established, further adding that it also polarises the organisation along political lines.
“The Minister reminded the Council that the BNYC was established as a non sectarian and non partisan organisation, which should have no formal or informal association with any political party,” read the statement. “They both agreed on the importance of rebranding the BNYC and rebuilding its image so as to restore its credibility as a youth service organisation and key adviser to Government on matters pertaining to the youth.”
But the Executive Director of the BNYC, Fidelis Molao, said on Monday that he is not aware of Kgathi’s directive. He, however, confirmed that they met with the minister and addressed a number of issues, among them the executives’ active political participation.
“However, as far as I am concerned, the issue is still under discussion, especially since the National Youth Act is due to be tabled in parliament,” he said.
For a long time, there have been complaints that the BNYC is used as a breeding ground for BDP activists. A number of BDP activists.
Other BDP activists that have held position of influence BNYC are Mpho Moruakgomo (a BDP councillor at Kgatleng District Council) and Shoshong Member of Parliament Phillip Makgalemele.
Anthony Morima, who was perceived as unsympathetic to the BDP was sacked under circumstances still to be clarified.
He was pushed out by the Board of Directors which is loaded with well known BDP activists.
A failure to stay neutral has not only undermined the BNYC credibility but has also isolated many young Batswana who have no interest in partisan politics.