Last week the media was awash with reports of resignations from the BMD Youth League by some interim committee members. Newspaper headlines screamed ‘en masse resignations’. Some newspapers even, either purposefully or mistakenly, omitted the word ‘interim’ to describe the committee.
Almost all the newspapers that reported on the resignations gave the nation wrong information. I was part of the committee, so take it from me when I say the reports were spiced up. The liars who fed them wrong information took advantage of the gullibility of our journalists. Our journalists have the tendency to swallow everything they are being fed and are more often lazy to cross check the facts even when no great effort is needed to do so.
I will always fight in the corner of journalists and their profession. Journalists are very important because it is through them that we know a lot that we know. It is through journalists that corruption is exposed. They are even more ‘hawk eyed’ than the overrated Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS). I therefore feel obliged to condemn journalists when they seem lazy to verify their facts and in the process mislead the nation.
Yes, the poor journalists did not have inside information about the BMD Youth League and that perhaps explains the wrong information they peddled last week. My name was misleadingly mentioned amongst those who resigned from the BMD Youth League last week. I resigned more than a year ago and not last week. I was counted amongst what the media labeled “Dikgafela and his group”. The word ‘en masse’ was used because a lot of names, including mine, were used in the “Dikgafela group”. The truth is, the ‘Dikgafela group’ is only made up of three people, him, Roselyn and Ruth. A threesome? Despite some of the journalists being my colleagues and drinking mates with easy access to me, no effort was made to ascertain my position. No hard feelings though. I’m here to state the truth as I know it. I know some people are going to read malice and bitterness from my confessions.
Trust me, I have no reason to be bitter. I gain nothing and I lose nothing from the resignations of the “Dikgafela group”. I harbor no ambitions for political office and their resignations do not in any way compromise my position. I only get hurt when the truth suffers. I stand to lose some friendships through these revelations and the question is, “do I care?”. Well the answer is a short “hell no”.
I count among the founders of the BMD Youth League. We were a group of determined and dedicated young men and woman. We came together and formed a formidable group that ate together, drank together, thought together, travelled together, gossiped together and laughed together. Oh and we even slept together.
I remember our very first meeting at the Falcon Crest. We were only about six at the time. I remember it was me, Armstrong Dikgafela, Ruth Kedikilwe, Kagiso Kwelagobe, Mothusi Kgakge and Bethel Mohinamune. At the time, Dikgafela was still a member of the BDP in that he had not yet resigned from the party. By virtue of his position as Chairman of the BDP National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC), Dikgafela had access to the BDP Central Committee. He attended their meetings and came back to feed us with the BDP’s inside information. In short, we had him as our spy at the BDP.
We agreed that he should remain inside the BDP for some time and collect their information. He was valuable to our plans as a new party because we wanted to know how the BDP was handling the formation of the BMD. I know a lot of dirty dealings in the BDP all thanks to Dikgafela. When we were satisfied with his job as a spy and didn’t need any more information from inside the BDP, we went for the next move. We launched a sucker punch at the BDP. We planned, with Dikgafela, to embarrass the BDP. The BDP held a conference where Dikgafela was coopted as the master of ceremonies. We agreed that Dikgafela would go ahead and direct proceedings at the BDP event and shock them with resignation the next day. He did exactly that. I remember him laughing and sipping on Savannah as he told us of how President Khama shook his hand after the conference and thanked him for not following those who had left to form the BDP. He made fun of Khama for appearing stupid. To quote Dikgafela this is what he said then, “the guy shook my hand not knowing it was a good bye handshake”. He went further to say, “Khama’s guys at the DIS are useless. I have been attending both BMD and BDP meetings and they didn’t pick that. Morons!”
Here is the truth. We were volunteers who were never assigned by anyone or voted for by anybody. We agreed amongst ourselves that Dikgafela would become our interim president as a reward for him having left the same position at the BDP. We mobilized other youthful persons to join us in the youth league. With the arrival of more people in the youth league and the BMD in general, we faced a serious problem for having Dikgafela as our leader. A lot of people felt it was improper to have him as our leader. They felt by so doing, we were sending wrong information to the public. They felt Dikgafela’s appointment was more like a transfer from BDP NYEC to BMDYL. They said people will not be able to tell the difference between the BMD and BDP. Infact, some BDP youth who showed interest in joining us told us point black that they would not join us when Dikgafela is the leader because they have always had problems with him at the BDP NYEC. Rasina Rasina was one of those who were vocal about Dikgafela’s laziness and poor leadership. There was a lot of tension in the BMDYL but I always stood by Dikgafela because I felt he didn’t necessarily had to be a strong leader and all that he needed was a strong team. The majority felt Dikgafela was useless and he was finally kicked out of the committee. He was supposed to be the link between the youth league and the central committee but always failed to produce reports from his meetings with the central committee. He failed to account for the funds which were raised from the sale of party T-Shirts and the committee showed him the door as they felt he was bringing the youth league into disrepute.
After setting up the different working committees within the youth league, most of us who felt that we had achieved our role of setting up the BMDYL stepped down to pave way for other young women and men. We wanted other youth across the country to become part of the youth league. We didn’t want the youth league to be seen as a group of Gaborone yuppies. We paved way for others. We had joined the youth league voluntarily and left voluntarily. No one ever dictated terms to us. At times I even felt embarrassed that we often made decisions which had far reaching implications on the mother party without consulting the party leadership. We held joint activities with BNF and BCP youth leagues without informing the elders. We staged a beauty pageant without informing the elders and more often the elders had to pay for the expenses that we incurred even as we were rude and discourteous not to inform them beforehand. All these happened during the reign of Dikgafela and as such I’m shocked when he says the BMD leaders are dictators. We were the dictators. Among the youth who resigned from the committee and never approached the media to peddle lies were Dimpho Mashaba,Tunah Kgokong,Veronica,Omphemetse,Mothusi Kgakge,Kagiso Kwelagobe,Tumelo Setshogo and a lot others. Mavis Kgotlaetsho left to join the Women’s League. Now that’s what qualifies for ‘en masse resignations’, not when three people resign and try to make lame excuses about their departure. Those who have been following the BMDYL would know that for close to a year now, the committee has not been active or functional. All youth league activities have been suspended to allow the youth to prepare for the congress which will ultimately usher in a new, elected and accountable committee. There is a group led by Rasina Rasina which is very much active and amassing a lot of support across the country and this group has always posed a threat to Dikgafela’s group which currently boasts of only ‘the threesome’.
During our times as a united group, they always showed signs of people who could easily be bought with money. Their love for money has always been clear and I’m not surprised at rumours doing the rounds that their recent return to the BDP is accompanied by some rewards. These are the people who always bragged at how they abused and misused BDP funds during their time at the BDP NYEC. They told us that they used to claim money from the party office claiming to embark on party trips only for the trip to be confined to O’hagans pub and restaurant. Dikgafela told us that Khama has always promised to reward him. Oh! he even told us that Khama admired him and even bought him neck ties as valentine gifts. Roselyn Panzirah took her car to the garage to be overhauled, repaired and repainted. Roselyn told us that Guma Moyo paid for everything. Whether she was telling the truth or not is another matter. Ruth Kedikilwe once told me she was under pressure from home to return to the BDP. I advised her, then, to return to the BDP because even as she is independent age wise, she still lives with her parents and feeds on their food and as such she shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds her. There is nothing wrong in changing political homes. However, there is everything wrong in giving unfounded and lame excuses for defecting. If I were to join the BDP, the only reason I can give is, “it is my constitutional and democratic right and my personal choice”. Simple!