BDP youth leader to scout for jobs for his peers
The Chairperson of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC), Andy Boatile is a man on a mission.
His plan is to reduce unemployment rate amongst the youth but only a selected lot will benefit from his initiatives.
The young leader who was voted into office early this year says as he uses his contacts to find jobs as far as China which is need of English teachers priority would be given to his party’s card carrying members.
In this one on one interview he further warned that any BDP youth who makes negative comments about the party and its leadership on public platforms would be dealt with accordingly.
Q. I am told all is not a bed of roses in your new office Mr. Boatile. How true is that?
NYEC is fine. My committee is intact.
Q. But I am told your deputy is running a parallel faction?
Having different views on a matter does not mean you are running parallel.
Of course we differ on certain issues, but we agree on some. At the end of the day we work with collective responsibility.
What I can say is that we are okay, although we differ on certain issues.
Q. So, are you saying that currently there are differences between you two?
No. No. That is not what I am saying. We once had differences and viewed things differently. Things are running smoothly.
Q. Don’t you think the recent letter that you wrote to the State President and recommended that he sacks Chillyboy Rakgare, one of the former leaders, could have drifted the youth further apart?
What you have to understand is that I am the national chairman of the BDP youth Committee.
I am governed by the party’s rules and regulations. One of our responsibilities as the Party’s youth leaders is to instill discipline and develop sense of loyalty and service to the party and to the nation.
So it is within our mandate as the youth leaders to do so. I represent all the BDP youth constituency and Chillyboy falls under it. Chillyboy’s case is not special in anyway.
What matters is everyone, regardless of whether you are Chillyboy or not, if you misbehave, we have to instill discipline. Currently Chillyboy is not in any party structure. He is an ordinary party member.
If you look at it indiscipline differs case by case. With Chillyboy’s case, he does not show any remorse.
Even after the suspension, he continues to attack the party on local radio stations.
Anyway I don’t want to discuss the matter further because it is before the disciplinary committee.
Q. Did you report Louis Sibanda, the Serowe South constituency chairperson who was arraigned before the disciplinary committee last week Friday and subsequently fired from his position?
I had nothing to do with Louis’s case. I don’t expel. I advice the party that “this is what we see” and the motherbody would take final decisions.
However I was not part of the Sibanda case. Other party members reported him. Any card-carrying member of the BDP has a right to file a disciplinary case against any party members if they feel they are behaving in an unacceptable manner.
Q. There is seemingly very limited freedom of expression within the BDP.
We do have freedom of speech, but we follow protocol. We have specified ways in which things have to be done.
There is this talk that we the BDP youth are toothless. No, that is not true. We challenge some of the issues, but in the right forums.
I am different from the youth leaders of opposition parties because I represent the ruling party.
I have platforms where I can express my views. I sit in the party’s central committee and as youth we have a national council where I have a platform as well.
I have a platform at the national congress too. So all these platforms give me the opportunity to critic a lot of things and talk on behalf of the youth.
When we go out there we adopt the collective responsibility approach.
Q. You are right. But don’t you think that some of the youth who don’t have such platforms are justified to use other mediums as facebook to express their views?
They have the platform at the national youth council. All constituencies do send delegates.
If you are not a delegate, you’ll have to approach the youth committee and register your concerns. Everyone has access to subordinate committees and the central committee itself.
What is important for us is that we want to solve our internal problems privately before they reach the outside community.
In the BDP we don’t have what we call youth wing position or women’s wing position like I see in the opposition parties.
We only have a Party position.
Q. Soon after winning your current seat at the Sefhare Congress in April this year, you promised to better the life of the BDP youth. Is everything going according to plan?
First and foremost, let me explain that when I got into the office a handover was never done.
There was completely nothing. The last committee hasn’t handed anything to us, so I was doing everything from scratch.
For the past six months that I was in the office, I’ve been trying to reorganize the office. Our committee has plans for the youth, but we could not bring anything new, which is not reflected in our party’s last elections manifesto. The manifesto talks of the educated and informed nation.
Under that theme, we have been going around the country holding seminars where we teach BDP youth on our party and government policies that could benefit them.
We have been to Maun, Kanye, Palapye, Kang, Serule and Francistown. I am a beneficiary of one such programme, Youth Development Fund.
As we talk I have approached a certain sponsor to donate 57 computers to be used by BDP youth in all the 57 constituencies across the country to process business proposals and related business use.
Q. Talk about your most important achievements then.
I’ll pick one or two programmes that we are working on because I don’t want to compromise some of which we are still in negotiations about.
Recently when in China, I realized there is shortage of English teachers in that country. So I am working on a programme in which I will be exporting labour to China.
I’ll give priority to BDP youth who has the right qualifications for the job. It is something I can promise that it would be in place sometime next year.
Q. Don’t you think that would be unfair Labour practice?
Again there are a lot of BDP members who have businesses around the country.
What I have done is, I have contacted the businesspersons and asked them to give the BDP youth first priority where employment is concerned.
I have started to collect a database of unemployed BDP youth and I have requested some security companies or some of the shop owners to consult me first before they hire new employees.
My mandate is to reduce or eradicate unemployment within the BDP youth cadre and I have started.
So far the programme is coming up so well because about five have been hired in Tutume in one of the local shops there.
It is not an unfair practice. I am delivering my promise to the youth who elected me to this position. I cannot create jobs but I can help them find them.
Q. I am told the BDP’s Secretary General, Mpho Balopi financed your campaign in Sefhare, rented out a farm and moved delegates from the school to rented tents, bought alcohol for delegates and paid them P200 each for votes. Your comment?
That farm belongs to a friend of mine, McJohn Mosenene, the chef. I believe you know him. I called him and told him we did not have accommodation.
As you may well know, there are no lodging facilities in Sefhare. McJohn offered that farm at no cost at all. You know how it is in our culture.
He did not demand any payments but said we could thank his elders with firewood and food that may remain after the congress. So I sponsored my campaign.
I spent my last P30 000 from my savings in the campaign. The other allegations are not true as well.
It was just a belief that Balopi financed me because we are from the same Tonota village.
Q. You are sometimes seen driving Balopi’s car and probably that is fuelling the speculations that you depend on him financially.
I am a businessman. I have my business in Kasane. I am running a poultry, which was financed by the Youth Development Fund and is doing well.
Any BDP Member uses Balopi’s car where there is need. It is the property of the party, so yes I use it sometimes just like any other party member can. It is for official party usage only.
Q. Certainly people have not accepted defeat. What are you doing to reconcile the youth?
I was elected by the majority. I did not get this position through a compromise deal so I don’t understand what the hullaballoo is all about.
In fact it is only a handful of the youth members, about five or ten in Gaborone who are making noise.
Out there in other constituencies, the youth is fine. I have visited them and like I said the youth is all right. My committee is intact. We are even having a meeting later today.