Botswana Democratic Party’s National youth wing (NYEC) Secretary General, Otsile Machona is one of the country’s vocal young politician whose love for his political party has made him to fire salvos at the country’s political heavy weights and make controversial pronouncements including advocating for political appointments in government offices.
Machona has been in office for over a year now. FRANCINAH BAAITSE catches up with this firebrand to find out what their plans as NYEC and advice to the ruling elites have produced to date.
Q: Since your committee was voted into office last year March, what can you say are its outstanding achievements in terms of youth development?
We have made the youth wing more responsive to political issues, equipping them with political education and knowledge.
In addition we contribute to public discourse. Meeting the minister of youth to speak about YDF (Youth Development Fund) was also a good thing because it has since been re-opened.
Politically we have achieved a lot, building solid youth structures across the country that will enable us to win elections.
We wish to continue influencing government policies more especially land reforms in both residential and commercial spaces.
We see improvement in terms of land allocation, but more can still be done.
Q: At the last NYEC congress you resolved to call on motherbody to reserve senior government positions for political appointees, why?
We still maintain our call, however we realise that this will take time.
We will be as patient as needs be and hope that the #Reset agenda will yield a more delivery anchored government.
Q: Tell us more about the #Reset agenda?
It is more about the political leadership owning up and taking more control of the country’s direction.
After all, it is the political leadership that has been given a mandate by the voting public.
Q: Was the re-opening of YDF the youth league’s idea?
Indeed we propose to the minister that the YDF should be opened.
While we cannot take all the credit, our contribution to the calls must be noted.
Q: How about the appointment of BDP membership to landboards, was it NYEC idea as well?
People who understand land issues and local situations of the people must occupy Land boards.
Their party affiliation should not be an issue. The minister has done well with the last appointments.
The chairpersons are primarily Batswana. They are capable and qualified Batswana.
Their party membership is secondary.
Q: Basically NYEC is calling shots from the sidelines, wouldn’t you agree with the statement?
We are an advisory wing of the party. To say we call the shots is a bit exaggerated.
We just advocate and leave the decision making process to the responsible leaders.
Q: On the issue of president Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor Ian Khama, don’t you think the youth is being used as combat knives to fight the seemingly unending cold war between the two?
We are not combat knives. We are BDP youth and we will do what is expected of BDP youth that is, protecting our leader.
This has been the culture with all past presidents.
Q: Understandable. Tell me then since you are approaching 35 and expiry of your youth days at BDP, do you have any ambition to contest for parliamentary seat in 2024 general elections?
I have an ambition of community service and will serve the community in any capacity that the public allows me.
That said, I have not considered or decided on parliamentary contestation.
What I can confirm is that I am a lifelong and dedicated servant of the people.
Q: If you were to be a president for one day, what would you change?
I would groom more young people for leadership responsibilities and give them bigger roles.
Q: What made you join politics?
I was persuaded to join politics by the will to serve people.
Politics influences people’s living standards and I want to contribute positively in that regard.