After two years of failing to hold a congress due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) will finally have its long overdue elective congress in April.
The congress themed, 'The BNFYL as the building block for regime change in 2024' will be held in Letlhakeng and could deliver the league’s first female president.
The congress set to be held in May 2020 was postponed indefinitely alongside that of the party central committee and the Women’s League. While there has been a fierce contest between Team Unity led by councillor Xukuri Xukuri and Team Revival led by BNF Women’s League secretary-general Resego Kgosidintsi, the presidential elections could be less exciting. This is after Xukuri rescinded his intentions to stand leaving Kgosidintsi as the sole contender for the youth league top post.
Speaking to Mmegi briefly, Kgosidintsi said her team was ready for the elections. “We have long been preparing for the elections despite the postponements caused by the pandemic. We have contestants for all the 16 positions and believe we have what it takes to deliver the BNFYL mandate,” she said.
While there is talk that some within her camp are not happy with the appointment of Kago Mokotedi as a transition team chairperson, Kgosidintsi said they had no qualms with him and believe he will do a great job preparing for the elections as he is a bonafide BNF member.
Xukuri told Mmegi that he has since withdrawn his name as he has commitments that will not allow him to serve BNFYL to his best abilities. Team Unity campaign manager Ishmael Modise said they are yet to get Xukuri’s replacement. “We are still in talks to fill positions including that of the president. We have two potentials for the top post and we believe we will soon reveal our final lobby list," he said.
Like Kgosidintsi, Modise said they have no misgivings with Mokotedi being the leader of the transition team. He said they believe he would lead them to a successful congress impartially despite having been allegedly linked with factions within the party.
According to a letter dated February 8, 2022, from BNFYL Transition Team secretary Mpho Kgomotso, who is also contesting as vice president for Team Unity, all constituencies are to commence the process of electing delegates and proposing resolutions to be considered at the congress. He also announced that the nomination of candidates vying for positions of the BNFYL commenced this month on the eighth at the BNF headquarters. The transition team consists of five members, two from each lobby and Mokotedi was elected as an independent by the BNF central committee. BNF president Duma Boko is expected to officiate the opening ceremony and also be the guest speaker at the congress.
Even though traditionally the BNF Youth Leagues have been a serious part of the organisation, in recent years the body has lost its significance as the previous one was dysfunctional. After a hard-fought victory, the former youth president Khumoekae Richard quit the party to join the Alliance for Progressives. Several members continued to leave their posts and at one point the central committee had to disband the youth league due to incessant squabbles.