Confusion days before BMD youth congress
Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Youth League President Phenyo Segokgo has distanced himself from a statement purporting to cancel their congress scheduled for Friday. This is despite the statement bearing his name and that of Secretary General Tolerance Itumeleng.
The statement circulated to media houses on Monday morning, explains that a decision to postpone the congress was a resolution from a meeting held on 22nd April by the BMDYL national executive committee with the intention to review preparedness to deliver the congress.It states that a decision was taken at the meeting that “the third biennial national congress be deferred to a later date yet to be determined in conjunction with the NEC of the party.”
Among other reasons stated for the postponement, the letter states that the NEC of the youth league has only been successful in mobilizing half the resources needed to deliver seamless congress. While Segokgo confirmed that he presided in the said meeting where such a resolution was adopted, he however says he communicated his stand in the matter clearly that the congress will not be postponed.
“I did not agree to the decision of postponing the congress. I had told them at the meeting on Saturday, I had my reservations about that and I still have them so there was no how I could be party to a statement confirming the postponement of the congress,” he explained.
He said upon realising that some of his current youth league members wrote a statement announcing the postponement, he contacted them and instructed them to formally, through writing, disassociate from that position. “I personally feel that my time is up and if they postpone it will mean I still have to be in office which is something am currently not up for right now. I just hope the BMD NEC which is the mother body will see the need for the congress to continue as planned,” said Segokgo who said authors of the statement refused to retract it nonetheless.
This publication understands that authors of the statement were supposed to be contenders in the upcoming congress, including Itumeleng. Trouble has long been brewing for youth league congress, with claims that one of the presidential hopefuls was over the allowed age limit. In itself, the run up to the congress is viewed to be an extension of main BMD factions with some believed to be enjoying the support of the Modubule/Mangole faction which is pro Pilane and some being associated with the anti-Pilane, Ndaba/Mmmolotsi axis.
It is also worth noting that the letter in question was realised when another presidential candidate, Jacob Kelebeng, was holding a press conference to announce his candidature as well as his team and their manifesto ahead of the weekend billed congress. “We are equally surprised, as we are learning all this through whatsapp a few minutes ago while we are seated here. But it should be noted that this congress is not an emergency, the current BMDYL had two years to prepare for it,” Kelebeng told The Botswana Gazette.
He cautioned the BMDYL against playing mind games with Batswana and to stop tarnishing the good name of the party. “These people should stop treating the BMD like it’s a joke, this is a movement of the people by the people. If they are failing to deliver a congress after two years of occupying office it is just a clear sign that they are incapacitated and they should just say so and led the leadership take it from there and help for the congress to take place.”