Botswana Movement for Democracy youth who at the weekend pulled out of the race for the BMD Youth League National Executive Committee elections denounced party vice president Wynter Mmolotsi and the party Secretary General Gilbert Mangole.
The said youth is led by Rodger Mphafe who was contesting for BMDYL presidency. Mphafe and his team say opposition parties always criticise the ruling ┬áBotswana Democratic Party of attempting to abuse its incumbency to try and influence the electoral process, they say it is therefore hypocritical of the opposition to criticize BDP of doing the same thing that the opposition is doing.
The youth argue that Mmolotsi and Mangole have decided to support another youth team led by Phenyo Segokgo a move that disadvantaged their team.
Speaking at a press conference Mphafe on Monday said the run up to the youth congress was marred by irregularities but the party leaders cared less to address their concerns.
“We wrote a letter to the Secretary General of our party Gilbert Mangole citing our concerns. The issue was not treated with the urgency it deserved. We are yet to receive a response as we speak albeit being aware that others within our party are fortunate enough to be replied to within hours and have their issues resolved in the wee hours of the morning. Having not expected the election terrain to be smooth, we decided to soldier on to Mochudi,” they said.
“Our party vice president also endorsed the Phenyo Segokgo lobby team by instructing the Francistown youth to vote for them. This went to the extent of causing violence among the Francistown youth as some violently defended the wishes of their MP (Mmolotsi), assaulting a 22 year old woman in the process after she had attempted to nominate Joyce Pheto. Dr Mmatli is also guilty of the same as he intimidated our delegates in the constituency, we have evidence of this.”
Mphafe and his team say that the irregularities continued in Mochudi. ┬á
“In Mochudi, we were immediately confronted with a case which Mr Tolerance Itumeleng who was contesting for the secretary general position from Phenyo’s lobby was one of those who were registering delegates aided by one of their supporters Ms Khumo Letshwiti. Although later removed we cannot gauge how much damage he might have already done.”
Mphafe’s team said immediately after nomination of contestants they were summoned by the chief electoral officer Dr Thupeng and the secretary general who instructed them that they had made a decision that casting of ballots should begin at 9 am in the morning of Sunday.
“This was at around 3am. Our team felt it was a sensible decision since most delegates had fallen asleep and had only been served one meal the previous day.┬á The programme had indicated that elections would begin at 2 pm but Segokgo disagreed with the decision and surprisingly Secretary General Mangole somersaulted from his earlier decision and decided that election should go ahead,” said the concerned youth.
Mphafe’s team said it will be very unfortunate if BMD leadership will fail to take and apply the lessons they took from BDP.
“We must fight all factors that militated against achievement of unity and cohesion in the BDP and eventually broke it down.┬á We must totally defeat actions prevalent in our system to side-line hardworking and talented cadres on the basis of their political opinions. We will mount a strong fight against the cult of personality which is threatening our movement.
“We will ensure that careerism and opportunism are defeated. We denounce in strongest terms the use of violence in our movement, the leadership that sees nothing with violence should be ashamed of themselves. Our party is predominantly youth, more than half of our members are youth hence it is important for them to have a robust youth league to represent them,” said Mphafe.
Mphafe further said as fair as they are concerned they do not recognize the newly elected BMDYL NEC. The team is poised to meet with the party leaders in trying to address their concerns.