Former UB president takes on Khan

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Former University of Botswana (UB) Student Representative Council (SRC) president, Khumoekae Richard is gearing up for battle against incumbent Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) secretary general, Arafat Khan in the forthcoming party congress.

The challenger believes that his team is the right one to regenerate and unite the party. At a press conference held this week, Richard said the youth should reclaim their position as the nucleus of the party. He said the youth must be influential again in party affairs like they were under previous leaders like Justice Key Dingake of the High Court or former Gaborone mayor, Nelson Ramaotwana. He urged the party to allow more intellectual thinking within its ranks and to nurture leadership through its structures like before. He stated that there is a dearth of charismatic and intelligent leaders in the BNF that can attract the youth in and outside the party. He accused the BNFYL leadership of failing to rise to the occasion during debate on critical national issues unlike before. He said youth leaders in parties such as the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) have been speaking strongly on national issues while those in the BNF have been silent. He faults the BNFYL for failure to express solidarity with tertiary education students in the dispute over book allowances. He said time is ripe for the youth league of his party to assume its role as a vanguard and torchbearer in national issues.

"We must be seen to be initiating, shaping, and directing discourse of the political sphere," Richard said. He added that the BNFYL needs self-criticism, introspection and revival to strengthen party structures at the grassroots. He condemned youth who campaign using the name of party president, Duma Boko, terming them opportunists. "We should leave the office of the president alone in this race as the president should not be involved," Richard said. He stated that when they come to office, his team intends to draft  a BNF National Youth Policy Charter; strengthen and consolidate the relationship between BNFYL and labour movements using the Marxism-Leninism theory; and formulate strategic alliances with groups such as SRCs, churches, non-unionised workers, the disabled and NGOs. Besides, his group intends to revive the BNF study groups and find ways of raising funds because it is not easy to fight "capitalism as an economic system without having capital".

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