BDP fails to create jobs for more than 250 000 Botswana youth
by Thato Osupile Jr
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government as led by President Ian Khama has been embarrassingly exposed as failing to create jobs for more than 250 000 Botswana youth as per the recent survey from Statistics Botswana. The survey indicates that contrary to BDP’s 2009 elections promise (drummed up by those large BDP bill-boards displaying disk jockeys/ DJ’s) to the youth of Botswana to provide them with jobs, more than 250 000 Botswana youth, graduates and school drop outs (aged 15 to 29, the number is higher when including youth aged 30 - 39) are currently roaming the streets unemployed. Being a population of a mere 2 million and having more than 250 000 unemployed youth considering the abundant economic resources God has given this country is not only embarrassing but highly unacceptable.
Four main reasons are causes of this current undesirable scenario of high rate of youth unemployment. Firstly, the BDP government as led by President Ian Khama does not comprehend the economy (wealth) of Botswana and how best to exploit it for the benefit of its people. Secondly, because the BDP does not understand the economy (wealth) of Botswana and how best to exploit it, this led to the absence of a clear cut national economic development strategy/policies with clear cut objectives for decades. Thirdly, because the BDP does not understand the economy (wealth) of this country, this also led to a haphazard and misguided education practice/policy which is failing to develop the skills of our people to make them meaningful partakes in the life-cycle of this country’s economy. The BDP’s education practice/system continues to produce school graduates and drop outs with irrelevant skills needed by the labour market. The BDP’s education system continues to fail to produce youth who can use their education to create more jobs for one another but instead continues to produce more youth who keeps on increasing the long stream of those looking for jobs, from who, the BDP says, from the private sector, which private sector, the BDP says the Chinese shops and Chinese construction companies. Fourthly, the high rate of youth unemployment is a result of leadership crisis by the BDP. Currently, the BDP is led by a President who lacks economic understanding and the few learned men and women (cabinet ministers) under his leadership have all embarrassingly resorted to coil themselves into his directionless puppets that have become liabilities to the economic development beneficial to the youth of this country.
That the BDP government as led by President Ian Khama does not comprehend the economy (wealth) of Botswana and how best to exploit it for the benefit of its people especially the youth is there for all to see. This embarrassing reality of the BDP leadership as led by President Khama not comprehending Botswana economy (wealth) at disposal is signified by the President’s chosen and highly drummed priorities. The BDP President who has since modelled himself as the BDP/party policy has set his economic development priorities as ipelegeng, young farmers fund, Limid, distribution of Chinese blankets rejects, backyard gardening and few other meaningless initiatives like housing appeal. In setting these as his economic development priorities, the President and his BDP government failed to by and large dissect the country’s economy from all four concerns of this country which led to them failing to provide the best remedy for the current economic ills bedevilling the youth, hence the current high rate of youth unemployment. The current daily episodes showing President Khama on national Btv distributing blankets are taken so serious and given high prominence because the President and his leadership do not understand what to do to provide economic leadership to this country, this being a result of leadership crisis at the ruling BDP. Much time is wasted on nothing concrete by those who should be providing economic leadership.
President Khama and BDP leadership crisis is signified by the clumping of his cabinet ministers as a bunch of misdirected administrators who have no idea of their roles in the running of the Botswana’s economy. All these BDP cabinet ministers, put together, has failed to inspire the country’s economy to produce the so much and desperately needed jobs by the youth. For example, the Minister of Tourism is failing to produce jobs in the sector, Minister of Trade and Industry is failing to inspire any meaningful investment from outside and within that will deliver more jobs to the youth. Instead, she prides herself in littering the whole of Botswana with Chinese shops that has pushed most Batswana out of business and employs and pays our youth an average pay of embarrassing P400 monthly. The Minister of trade and industry is embarrassingly comfortable with presiding over an overly selfish and capitalist minded private sector which care no less about developing a Motswana child or providing more meaningful jobs to Botswana youth. She is more than at heaven with having the private sector exploit the youth by engaging them through “internship programme” which pays a meagre P1 400 for degree holders.
The Minister of Agriculture has failed to inspire the agricultural sector to produce more jobs especially for the rural youth. My party the BCP believes that Botswana can produce more jobs for the people of Botswana, youth included when a serious minded government aims to transform and modernize the agricultural sector using environmentally secure methods to enable it to contribute more to the GDP on a substantial basis, create food self sufficiency and create more jobs to eradicate poverty. The Minister of Agriculture under the leadership of President Khama continues to fail. Many other Ministers continue to fail to bring forth leadership (this as a result of leadership crisis within the BDP) that can transform the economy through their line ministries to provide jobs for the youth. As for the Minister of Youth, the less said about him because expressing any sentiments will be just a waste of words. To this day, many of us especially the youth continue to ask ourselves what wrong have we really done to be assigned such a minister, flippant in operations and deceiving in presentation in public forums. The Botswana Congress Party, which I follow, accounts the current high rate of youth unemployment to Botswana’s mono-cultural economy as modelled by the ruling BDP since 1965, heavily dependent on diamonds despite persistent rhetoric on economic diversification by the BDP government. The BCP believes that full potential of the manufacturing sector and other sectors of the economy has not been exploited and this is worsened by the absence of a long term vision by the BDP government for the development of the economy. The BCP, through its 2009 elections manifesto indicated that to resolve the current economic crisis, Botswana needs to develop a comprehensive and robust National Economic Development Strategy that promotes partnership with the workers, communities and business people across the country. Development of this strategy will encompass in it a policy and a law on citizen economic empowerment which will clearly spell out entitlements of citizens, including the youth and citizen companies in the economic life of this country. One wonders whether President Khama’s ipelegeng programme, internship programme, young farmers fund, Limid, distribution of Chinese blankets rejects, presidential housing appeal, backyard gardening and many other pet projects are part of the BDP government national economic development strategy meant to genuinely empower Batswana and deliver them from abject poverty. If so, then we are a nation in a painful crisis.
The long and short of it is that Botswana is currently stuck with the BDP administration which is clueless on how to help its youth and this has led to the country having more than 250 000 unemployed youth. This high rate of youth unemployment is also mainly a result of BDP government’s haphazard and misguided education practice/policy which is failing to skill or refine the skills of our people to make them meaningful partakes in the life-cycle of this country’s economy. The education sector, in addition to the absence of a clear education policy and credible political leadership is in an endless mess and the BDP leadership is laughing about it to a point of boasting that the country’s President has not gone to school yet he became a President.
Can someone make President Khama and his BDP government aware that when a country of a 2 million population with abundant resources hosts more than 250 000 unemployed youth, that country is in a NATIONAL CRISIS. Can someone tell the President to stop being playful with the lives of the youth and start providing the much needed leadership, and that’s if he does can? The current high rate of youth unemployment in Botswana is indicative of President Khama’s overall policy failure to the youth as highly publicised in the 2009 general elections. The youth have no reason to vote President Khama’s BDP in the coming general elections in 2014, not with the current high rate of youth unemployment. This must be depressing to all of us, including to those who voted the BDP in 2009.
Thato Osupile Jr