The Role of Political Parties in Botswana`s - FES

The Role of Political Parties in Botswana’s
Democratic and Economic Development:
An anatomy of Youth Leagues and
Gobe Taziba
UB School of Graduate Studies
Presentation Structure
Reflective Questions
Theoretical and Conceptual frame work
State of the Youth in Botswana
Youth leagues & wings
Youth Leagues & Wings in Botswana
Challenges of youth leagues in Botswana
EFF Founding background
• Recommendations
Gomolemo Motswaledi
• A National Icon that
has influenced greatly
the level and rate of
Youth political
Reflective Questions?
• What is the role of Youth Leagues (YLs)?
• Are they important in Youth
• Are they (YLs) serving their intended
• What is the difference between YLs &
YWs ?
• Are they (YLs) serving effectively?
• What can be done to advance their
effectiveness and relevance?
• The scope of this paper is to cross-examine the
nature and necessary transformation of Political
Party Youth wing and leagues in Botswana as
viable possible avenues to advance and
influence pro-youth policies, representation and
social justice at large.
• Esp. as we interrogate today’s Topic:
Are Diamonds there forever? – Prospects of a
Sustainable Development Model for Botswana
Theoretical and Conceptual frame
• Harts ladder of participation
• Sustainable Development (SD) Model
• Survival of The fittest Theory
Harts Ladder of Participation
by Roger Hart (1992)
Sustainable Development (SD) Model
• Popularized by the
1992 Rio de Janeiro
United Nations
Conference on
Environment and
• Social Inclusion
Survival of The fittest Theory
• Coined by Herbert Spencer; after studying
Charles Darwin’s principles of Biology in 1864.
• This theory justifies a hypothesis that; the fit as
opposed to the unfit individuals will survive
respective tests
State of the Youth in Botswana
• Constitute majority of the population
• High Unemployment
• Poverty
• Inadequate Leadership Development hence low participation in Decision
Making Structures
• High prevalence of HIV/AIDS and associated diseases
• Weak Gender Empowerment & Equality
• Restricted access to Land and other means of Production plus Market
(United Nations, 2011; African Union, 2009; Government of Botswana 1996, Government of Botswana, 2010).
Economic and Democratic Challenges
• Lack of alternative policy advocacy on; Employment, Land
distribution policy.
• Willing buyer willing seller system
• First Pass The Post (Democratic System)
• E-Voting
• Low voter registration (Voter Apathy)
• Curriculum structuring and need for review
• Market penetration and structuring
Economic & Democratic Vulnerability
• Special Constable allowance decrease
• Tertiary Students Living allowance reduction
• National internship allowance cuts
• Delayed and sometime never allocated youth
projects funding
(Newel, 2013; VoiceReporter, 2013, Selatlhwa, 2013, Mphisa, 2011).
Youth Leagues (YLs) & Wings (YWs)
• Have been in existence as early as political consciousness
• Have transformed over years
• Navigate their parties into comparative entities
• Serve as Training ground for party leadership
• Advance primarily youth but also national matters within
the mother party decision making process
• Enhance the party profile and performance especially
among the youth voters
YLs& YWs in Botswana
• as early as the 1960s
• Every political party constitution mentions the
establishment and functions of YLs and YWs
• However it is not every political parties that
actually has these structures operational
• Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Marx Engels Lenin
Stalin Movement (MELs)
• Mainstream political parties; BCP, BDP, BNF, UDC & BMD
are the only political movements with existing youth
structures as instructed by the constitution
• BDP constitution refers to its youth structure as a ‘Youth
Wing’, UDC recognizes them as a Department of Youth
while BCP, BMD and BNF constitutions recognize their
structures as ‘Youth Leagues’.
• Surprisingly section 8.7.2 of the BCP constitution reads “a
youth wing of the party known as the Youth League”.
• Hence moving forward the term youth league and youth
wing will be used interchangeably.
• All the youth leagues have a similar
• Except BMD- ‘National Policy Director;
However the duties define those of
political office roles in the convectional
• All YLs subscribe to the African Union
(AU) definition Youth which is any person
below the age of 35years
Challenges of YLs & YWs in Botswana
• Paralyzed by server apathy to the point of being
• National conferences are not held regularly as per the
• Statutory committee meetings are either not held, and
when held they are illegal because those attending
don’t form a quorum
• Lately BDPYW, BMDYL and BCPYL have not held their
elective congresses
• Dysfunctional constituency and ward structures.
• Lack of clearly defined autonomy and independence from
mother party
• frustration, resignation and in some cases resignation of
youth leaders
• mismatch between the constitution and mother party
• EG. BNFYL Thamaga congress YL and Mother Party Battle.
• Mother party factional wars
• Financial vulnerability
• Ceremonious/Decoration Representation in
central committees
• Restricted to Non- Mainstream party activities
• Confined to cheerleading activities
• Failure to produce party leaders for party
• Lack of training and qualified office holders
EFF Founding background
• A classic case-study of
the structural and
institutional obstacles
holding back YLs
• ANCYL 23rd National
Congress resolutions
EFF Background cont.
• There is huge discrepancy between what YLs are
doing and should be doing.
• This discrepancy is propelled by factors such as
unclear legal standing, apathy, mother party
factional wars and financial vulnerability of youth
• The structures are strategically poorly
institutionalized limiting their role to cheerleading
and singing in choirs
• Interparty Youth Platform Model
• Moving of YL into Mainstream party activity
(strengthening their financial & structural capacity)
• Increased institutionalization and succession plans
(Constitutional reforms)
• Capacity Building
• Financial Stability of Youth Leaders
Research Recommendations
• Improved Research
and Documentation
of YL activities.
Concluding Argument of the Paper
• As Botswana approaches Economic
Development and Growth uncertainties,
strong civil societies are fundamental to
advance and protect policy interests of
respective sectors. Accordingly it is
fundamental for YLs and YWs in Botswana to
introspect; redefine their mandate, focus and
purpose as youth structures.

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