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Youth should not poke nose in Masisi/Khama fights

It is not a secret that the fallout between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor, Ian Khama, has poisoned and divided the political landscape. However, this week temperatures reached a boiling point when Khama said the country  cannot have a President “Yo o tlwaelang batho” loosely translated to mean that “we can’t have a President who takes people for granted”.

Khama’s statement sparked a row between the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), a party that Khama is its patron. The statement was not taken heartily by the BDP Youth as the NYEC secretary general, Otsile Machona released an onslaught on the former president through a statement. Machona said they will ‘unleash a gruesome counter assault on  Khama’s questionable practices’.  He said Khama should disagree with Masisi in a civil manner. On another hand,the BPF youth league also responded with more arsenal, labelling the BDP youth league as ‘minions’ and further indicating that it stands with Khama’s statement.  While these back and forth exchanges between the young politicians is escalating, it is not just pitting red against yellow in terms of party colours. What both the youth leagues of the BDP and the BPF don’t realise is that they are being used as combat knives to fight the unending war between Khama and Masisi. The thing about combat knives is that the opponent can pull it out any time during a battle.  It is not wrong to have different opinions and perspectives on an issue, but the youth of the two  parties should not involve themselves in fights that have nothing to do with them. Therefore, they  should realise that they are being used as pawns in a matter that is above their pay grade. Youth Leagues should be vocal and active on issues affecting them and not make derogatory statements on issues

that do not affect them.  Similarly, while it is true that fa dilwa di gata marole, both Masisi and Khama should not use the youth to fight their battles because when it gets ugly, the blame goes to the two leaders. As much as any right thinking youth league wouldn’t want elders to meddle in their affairs, the same goes both ways. These exchanges and threats from both youth league organisations clearly cannot repair the relationship between Masisi and Khama, but it would rather fray it further. The young people should focus on building strong youth leagues, nurturing their leadership cohort and living up to their purpose. Throwing around statements recklessly on social media to impress their seniors and idols is rather uncivil on their part as young leaders. The youth wings forget that they are supposed to provide a space for young people to meaningfully participate and develop their skills alongside the main party structure, but not releasing statement after statement countering the Masisi and Khama  wars. There is obviously declining youth political party membership in their parties, but now instead of focusing on improving, they are busy being used as weapons in a battleground they are not even supposed to be in.

Today’s thought

Charity But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? Charity begins at home, is the voice of the world; yet is every man his greatest enemy, and, as it were, his own executioner.

– Thomas Browne


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