This year is Botswana’s 10th general elections and as such the Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) has found it imperative to urge the youth of Botswana to take advantage of the on going continuous registration in large numbers so that they could be eligible to vote in the general elections.
The idea is to change the political landscape of this country. It is very important for the youth to register for elections in large numbers in order for them to vote in the upcoming general elections as they are the ones mostly affected by the harsh socio-economic conditions prevailing in our country which are created by the ruling neo-colonial BDP led government. For 43 years the BDP policies have resulted in mismanagement, incompetence, social inequalities and corruption, which are now perceived as fashionable pandemic.
A handful of well-connected elitists are amassing vast fortunes while the majority of Batswana suffer continued economic deprivation. Accountability seems to be a complicated and elusive thing in this country as men and women occupying political and administrative positions abuse the trust invested on them by the public.
It is indeed sad that Botswana with a population of about 1.7milion people still has about 50% of its people living below the poverty datum line. Daily young Batswana are faced with different realities, some of these are depressing, stressful and are a reflection of a dream deferred and a hope shattered, these realities comprise of dire conditions of unemployment, people trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty, some survive on famine relief programmes as an alternative to death and HIV/AIDS which is threatening to wipe out the entire generation of young Batswana, parents had expected their children to bury them, but increasingly these days parents are saying farewell to their children.
Young people are the victims of crime, drugs, prison, violence, illiteracy and alcohol abuse. We youth are confronted with a world without access to education, basic health care, high costs of services such as water and electricity. Thousands of street children who eat from rubbish dumps, sleet rough have become a permanent feature of all our towns and cities, the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor (haves and have-nots) is a source of great concern.
The unwise introduction of school fees is the worst decision taken by Ian Khama led government; there is no rational justification for imposing a heavy burden on the poor by trying to collect P60 million from them while the government does not hesitate to splash P20 million in building a retirement house for Festus Mogae. It is a shame that the Ministry of Education wants to make 60 million from the school fees while they returned P600 million of unspent development funds to the Ministry of Finance, where is the logic?
The tragedy is that 43 years into our so-called independence, some 44.859 children (RNPE 1997) do not go to school, in other words this means kids who have never seen inside a classroom because education is not compulsory.
An educated and informed nation will remain an illusion come 2016. The BDP led government is a story of a secretive regime with a record of development, lack of employment, gross income and wealth inequalities, abject poverty in the midst of plenty.
In the BDP led government, appointments are made only to friends, relatives, lovers and concubines; only Ian Khama’s sycophants and puppets tend to gain. After 43 years, with massive resources at its disposal and consortium of blood sucking multinationals behind it, economic activity is still concentrated in the opulence of Phakalane whilst the poverty trap sharpens its claws in the desolation of Naledi. Land in this country is owned by people connected to the ruling elite.
Young Batswana provide a pool of labour to white entrepreneurs who own the means of production.
Economic power remains in the hands of agents of multinational companies whose shareholders reside in the land of imperialists whose main motive is profit with absolute disregard for human rights, at the expense of job creation and pay peanuts.
The ruling BDP has got no interest of Batswana at heart, they are only interested in enriching themselves and accumulating wealth while the living standards of workers (wealth creators) is deteriorating. The ruling elites live in mansions, own more cars than they can drive at once, send their children to expensive private schools, eat all the time and go on expensive holidays, they have all the luxury that the majority of Batswana basically youth just dream of.
The coming general elections presents youth of this country with an opportunity to register their grievances by voting for the main opposition party, the BNF which is still the only opposition party, the only opposition party that is prepared and can emancipate Batswana from the chains of poverty, unemployment and other social ills. We cannot let ourselves to be used as pawns by the BDP, which seems only to care about the people during the election year and then disappear and expect the people to suffer of poverty and dispossession in silence for the next 5 years. Enough is enough, our future is at stake, and basically our message to the youth is register, vote and change the government for a better life for all. VOTE BNF.
*Khan is the BNF Youth League Secretary for Publicity and Information