The government resolve to eradicate poverty is by all standards a very commendable effort, especially on the back of political will coming from the highest office in the land, the office of the President and the president himself.
This is so because over 20 percent of Batswana are living below the poverty datum line with 7.5 percent of those living in abject poverty.
In driving the poverty eradication exercise, President Ian Khama has demonstrated his government’s commitment to fight poverty as┬áan┬áundesirable evil among his people. In personally launching the poverty eradication workshop last week, the president raised hope and legitimate expectation that his government is going all out to ensure that those Batswana living in poverty are removed from the jaws of poverty. His personal involvement in the project is also a clear testimony of the political will his government is putting in the fight against poverty.
For a country that is by African standards one of the richest in the continent and boasting one of the highest per capita incomes, there has always been no justification for the degrading poverty within our midst.
Poverty is undesirable. It is dehumanizing. It takes away dignity and self-esteem. Therefore, government concerted efforts to fight poverty from all fronts is highly commendable. There is no valid reason why some of our people should continue to wallow in poverty in a country that has long graduated from a low income to a middle income country.
While we applaud government in its poverty eradication drive, we are quite aware that poverty can never be eradicated, but it can rather be alleviated. So all efforts aimed at alleviating it are welcome. We are however concerned that government has so many programmes that are aimed at uplifting the quality of life for all Batswana but have failed to yield the desired results because of poor implementation and lack of proper coordination.
Most of the programmes are disgracefully disjointed and┬áuncoordinated. At a youth development workshop at Siviya village in the North East District recently, the country’s Commonwealth Youth Representative, Koziba Malibala, decried that most government programmes┬áwere difficult to access.
We cannot agree more with her. On paper government programmes are no doubt impressive. But it has always been difficult for intended beneficiaries to access them.
It is only appropriate that government harmonizes its programmes and in the same vein ensure speedy and timeous delivery. It looks like in government the right hand does not usually know what the left is doing. This tendency is not helpful at all. It impedes the achievement of intended goals and objectives.
Frequently the programmes are duplicated and not placed in one ministry or centre. Lack of collaboration between the implementers of the different programmes makes it extremely difficult and tedious to access the programmes.
This is a disconnection that government needs to attend to urgently.
There is certainly no use to have so many noble programmes which are not benefitting the intended beneficiaries. Government should spare no efforts in improving its implementation capacity as well as ensuring proper collaboration between implementers.
For as long as these issues remain unattended, we will never overcome the many economic hardships that continue to plague our country and its people.
It is our ardent hope that government will quickly look into all programmes and ensure that they are well coordinated.