The newly appointed Chairman of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party youth wing has some of the biggest challenges facing him.
Not only is he expected to become the key link between the youth and the main party, Kenney Motsaathebe also inherits a ruling party appendage structure that analysts insist is all but dead.
The situation is not helped by the fact that Motsaathebe’s time as BDP Youth Chairman coincides with the arrival of Ian Khama as President.
In spelling out his vision for the country, Khama made it clear in no uncertain terms that he will have no time for poor performers.
More, the President has also not hidden his burning desire to adopt the youth as an important vote winner for his party in the next General Elections.
All along, the BDP fared badly on winning the youth to their side.
The hard fact though is that there is no week that passes without someone complaining that the BDP youth wing is not utilizing its strategic position to further the interests of the youth across the country.
Under the laws governing the BDP, Motsaathebe will sit in the BDP’s highest structure, the Central Committee, next to the party’s Gods like Ian Khama, Daniel Kwelagobe and Jacob Nkate.
Motsaathebe acknowledges that there has been a lot of public pressure, stemming from expectations given the youth wing’s unique position.
He, however, declines to judge the performance of past committees, let alone blame them for inefficiency.
“I do not want to talk about past youth committees. I think they have played their part and our challenge is to continue where they left off. Our biggest challenge now is to assist the State President to achieve his vision,” he says without entertaining any goading to talk about the lackluster past performance of the immediate past BDP Youth Wing.
Throughout the interview, he stresses that delivery will be central to his team’s strategy. Also, at the centre of that strategy will be the 4Ds as spelt by Khama in his inaugural speech.
These include Development, Democracy, Discipline and Dignity (though not necessarily in that order.
A lawyer by training, Motsaathebe recently defeated Kefentse Mzwinila with a comprehensive margin that has sent tongues wagging inside the BDP.
Party insiders are united that Mzwinila’s biggest mistake, other than that he clearly failed to give meaning and impetus to his position as Youth Chairman, was to clumsily announce that his ambition was to unseat Ponatshego Kedikilwe in the Mmadinare constituency.
A former longtime BDP National Chairman, Kedikilwe is still revered as a party high priest and it was a sign of political immaturity by Mzwinila to attempt to dislodge the old man who still enjoys a lot of political goodwill and sympathy inside the party.
But still Motsaathebe would not want to discuss Mzwinila.
“All I can tell you is that I cannot afford to be lazy around this President. Ian Khama has made his priorities very clear and the youth empowerment is at the centre of it all. As the BDP Youth Chairman, the President will obviously look to me to help him deliver his vision,” said Motsaathebe.
It is a tall order. And while he is under no illusion of what is at stake, he says he is up to the task.
As it turns out, he says working with the youth has always been his passion, only this time it is tagged to politics.
“The youth of this country have always felt left out and isolated. With the new vision recently spelt out by President Khama, those days are behind us.”
Motsaathebe says his priority is to make sure that government policies that are geared towards helping the youth turn out to be all inclusive.
“We have to reach beyond the BDP membership. As BDP Youth we have to disseminate information not just to BDP youth but to all Botswana youth,” says the youthful lawyer-cum-businessman-cum-politician.
Only time will tell if the new youth committee will wake up from the slumber that one commentator has termed a near comatose.