Thousands of youth who were hoping to benefit from government funded programmes coordinated by the Botswana Youth Council (BNYC) face an uncertain future as the Government threatens to stop the full operation of the council, documents passed to the Sunday Standard have revealed.
Fresh information indicates that the Government has partly withdrawn funding amid allegations of financial mismanagement at the youth Council. There are even fears that the Council may fold if there is no intervention by government.
BNYC is 100% fully funded by Government. It was established in 1974 through a presidential directive as the coordinating body of Non-Governmental Organisations dealing with youth matters.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Youth Sports and Culture, Lewis Malikongwa, states in minutes of a meeting between him and BNYC Executive Director Benjamin Raletsatsi that the latter should write letters to individuals to inform them about a proposed transition process.
According to the minutes, Malikongwa is expected to meet with District Chairpersons and all Executive Committee members were expected to attend so they could be briefed on the envisaged restructuring. The Permanent Secretary is also supposed to meet with Executive Members of the BNYC Affiliates Committee. He instructed that Raletsatsi should ensure that BNYC officers work with the Ministry’s officers in the District immediately.
Malikongwa also instructed that the Executive Committee should cease being operational. The Permanent Secretary further instructed Raletsatsi to provide staff establishment register for all employees with contract information; extend contracts ending before February to end of February 2015.
There is also “a consideration for Executive Committee members to handover BNYC’s assets issued to them.”
According to Malikongwa, Raletsatsi should update and provide information on office rentals and land ownership issues; all District Youth Officers should register and share list with the Ministry.
Sunday Standard has learnt that as part of its intervention measures, Cabinet proposes to nominate some board members of the BNYC instead of the current situation in which they are nominated by other youth. It is understood that the Council will also have to nominate at least two members to serve in the board.
Information gathered thus far indicates that some affiliates of BNYC have not received their quarterly funding since last year after an internal audit unearthed financial impropriety at BNYC and the Council failed to account to the Ministry for the funds.
In response to the minutes of the meetings between Raletsatsi and Malikongwa, executive committee members stated in a letter dated December 2014 that they welcome Malikongwa’s proposal to remove them from the administration matters of the BNYC. They stated that the main reasons they had authorised some members to be signatories and be involved in the daily administration of the BNYC was only for the purposes of facilitating the development of the new BNYC strategy. They also welcomed the recommendation by Malikongwa that Executive Members who are currently using BNYC assets should return them without any reservation.
“Finally we would like you to note that we are willing to contribute to youth development and we are available to work with you during this transition period and even afterwards. We will also be happy to serve in any professional positions commensurate with our qualifications or any youth structure that will result from the transitioning of the BNYC,” they stated.