His journey to the highest office of the Botswana Movement for Democracy Youth League (BMDYL) has been marred by controversy.
First it was the announcement of the postponement of the Ramotswa congress, which nevertheless went ahead over the weekend.
Jacques Kelebang emerged from the Ramotswa congress as the BMDYL President, but to everybody’s surprise, on Tuesday, his Party Chairman, Nehemiah Modubule and Secretary General, Gilbert Mangole together with their team known as the Pilane faction, called a press conference nullifying the congress and by extension his presidency.
They argued that the congress was unconstitutional and they therefore do not recogne the newly elected YL committee.
Voice Staffer, Daniel Chida had an interview with the new BMDYL President, Jacob Kelebeng at the Parliamentary Lounge to clarify some of these issues bedeviling the BMD.
Congratulations on your new role as the BMDYL President.
Thank you, it was not an easy journey looking at what we went through leading to the congress.
Some of our members wanted the congress to be postponed but after consultations we realised it was going to be costly because a number of them had already made bookings.
Another thing is that the term for the past YL committee was coming to end on the 3rd of May, so there was nohow we were going to hold our congress after that date.
Q.But it looks like you wasted resources because the Party’s SG and Chair say the congress was unconstitutional and that your new committee is not recognised by the party or is it?
The BMD youth took a decision and the decision taken by the masses must be respected.
Those elders who do not want to recognise us are the ones who have been delaying party progress; they are the enemy of progress.
How can you not recognise a committee that was voted into power during a congress attended by 42 out of the 57 constituencies?
It shows you that they are the minority who have been derailing progress.
BMD is stronger than before and our weekend congress was the most peaceful ever.
I am the President of the YL and that must be respected. When Masego Segokgo, our candidate for the coming Tlokweng Bye -elections was launched, we were recognised.
Q. Why did your rival want the congress postponed so badly?
They sensed defeat and decided to push for its postponement.
Some of those people failed the youth league many times.
One of the key mandates for the YL is to build structures but they failed to build those structures.
It is not like we didn’t know about the congress; we knew of it two years back and had ample time to make preparations.
There was a time we realised that we were short of funds and our President Ndaba Gaolathe pledged P50 000 so you can see everything was in order.
At first 35 branches had registered to attend and we were shocked as 42 made it.
Q: So why is there so much infighting in the BMD?
We believe these are sponsored attacks by external forces that are hell bent to tarnish the party’s image.
BMD is now portrayed as a divided party but at the congress we were united.
What does that tell you, it shows that the minority which were absent are the root cause of the problems?
Since Sidney Pilane made a comeback to the party, we have been experiencing problems but he is not the problem.
He created divisions by funding certain factions to divide us.
As youth we are however not really interested in his issues and he is not our concern. Our main concern is stability within our movement.
A dent to BMD is a dent to UDC, people must respect each other.
Some have the guts to go around the country insulting our president instead of protecting him.
Q. What are you going to do since it looks like there will be more insults hurled at Gaolathe since he allowed the congress to go on despite some misgivings from one faction of your party?
We are ready to combat any attacks coming our president ‘s way.
We have to defend the party and as youth we are going to rally behind Gaolathe and support him with whatever we can.
If you want to challenge or differ with him, then it is fine you can do that but you have to do that with respect.
Q. Are you aware that National Executive Committee (NEC) will be meeting this weekend to decide on the YL Congress dates?
I have been made aware by friends and I will attend the meeting out of curiosity but as far as I am concerned we will not have another congress, they must forget about that.
Q. What are your objectives?
I will be working with other YL Presidents under UDC to make sure that we take power in 2019.
I will also make sure that there is communication amongst wards, constituencies and party leadership.
I will also go on a recruitment and retention drive. Empowerment and Development will be another key result area that I have to focus on.
I will also vigorously pursue fund raising.
As YL we mustn’t rely on donors but sustain ourselves.