Ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbench has issued a warning to Cabinet about the slow allocation of land to citizens and failure to create job opportunities for unemployed citizens.
The BDP Members of Parliament highlighted that the two critical issues could cost the party ahead of the 2024 general elections if not addressed.
Member of Parliament for Nata-Gweta Paulson Majaga told this publication that Batswana are increasingly getting frustrated over promises that land will be allocated to them adding that the ruling party should deliver on its promises.
Majaga stated that even though they have been informed that government intends to allocate more plots to citizens this year, there are concerns over the growing land waiting list.
“The waiting list is quite a concern especially in big villages because people are landless and frustrated over this. The land policy should also be revisited even though it was meant to curb the rising incidents in which people were selling plots,” he said.
Majaga also said the growing number of unemployment rate in the country should also be considered highly by cabinet Ministers by way of coming up with new measures to curb it.
He stated that year in and year out there are graduates who pile up in the streets to add numbers to those already struggling to find job opportunities.
He stated that there is no secret that a lot of Batswana lost their jobs during the start of Covid-19 adding that there is now a sense of desperation particularly among young people to venture into precarious means for survival.
“It is difficult for people to find jobs right now because there are certain areas like mine where there are no industries, some have attempted to come up with alternative ways to put food on their table but things like permits to harvest grass remain a challenge because license fees have gone up,” said Majaga.
For his part, Member of Parliament for Letlhakeng-Lephephe Liakat Kablay said they recently succeeded in lobbying government to allocate land to citizens in the absence of basic amenities such as water and electrification, adding that more land should be allocated.
“We made a plea in the lead up to the last general elections that every citizen will have a piece of land, so it is only right that we continue to pile pressure on cabinet to ensure that more land is allocated,”
“I want to believe that we have made some strides even though it is not good enough because we have allocated land but now Batswana want basic amenities to be provided as soon as they have been allocated land,” added Kablay.
Kablay further stated that high unemployment rate remains government concern adding that he will continue to advocate for new measures around job creation to be put in place.
Last month, The Minister of Lands and Water Affairs Dr Kefentse Mzwinila told the media that government is broke to speed up land allocation which he said was expensive.
This is despite him making a declaration that his Ministry will allocate 100 000 plots this year.