The Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, and the Botswana National Youth Council seem to be headed for a brawl over the minister’s ultimatum that members of the BNYC executive should not be actively involved in politics.
Earlier this year, Kgathi gave the BNYC executive up to April 30th to choose between the Council and politics.
He said those who continued to be active in politics risked expulsion from the youth organization, adding that politics undermine the mandate of BNYC and polarises it along political lines.
At the time, the BNYC executive said they were surprised by Kgathi’s ultimatum as the issue was still under discussion.
“We met with the minister and addressed a number of issues, among them the executives’ participation in politics. 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,” said then BNYC Executive Director Fidelis Molao.
But Molao was not as diplomatic last week. At a press conference called to announce his resignation from BNYC, Molao said that he personally does not agree with Kgathi’s ultimatum as it is against BNYC’s mandate of youth empowerment.
“I subscribe to youth empowerment and I do not agree with the contention that BNYC should be divorced from politics. Why would you divorce such a strategically placed organisation from youth political empowerment? BNYC should be a breeding ground for young politicians and young business people,” he said.
A former, Deputy Executive Secretary of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, Molao, has himself since fallen victim to Kgathi’s ultimatum. Last week Molao was forced to resign his position as Executive Director of BNYC as he is preparing to contest primary elections for Tonota North constituency under the ruling party ticket.
Molao said he strongly believes that Botswana youth should be allowed to be active in politics. He said BNYC has a robust youth political empowerment program, citing BNYC Secretary General Charles Mabjweng, who is a BDP councillor at Lejweng, as one of the beneficiaries.
For his part Mabjweng said they are due to meet Kgathi on Wednesday to express their reservations with his decision.