Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Kedikilwe brands Saleshando a ‘prophet of doom’

In an address marked by a cool tempo but lacking the innate arrogance of his predecessor, Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe has praised President Ian Khama’s leadership and by the same token dismissed Botswana Congress Party President (BCP)’s Dumelang Saleshando as a ‘prophet of doom’.

Kedikilwe made these remarks while responding to Khama’s State of the Nation Address.

“The former honourable Leader of the Opposition has reacted to the speech with cynicism, pessimism, sarcasm, innuendo that verges on vulgarity. He saw nothing good. Heard nothing good. He rubbishes the speech as sterile. Under Botswana’s democratic dispensation it was former Leader of the Opposition’s opportunity to display the sterility of his own drama in responding to the speech,” he said.

Kedikilwe told parliament that at best Saleshando’s mind is contorted by bias and his disdain for the Khama administration.

Kedikilwe said that Khama’s speech was loaded with a number of government programmes and commitments to be undertaken.

He cited the empowerment of remote area communities, exploration of additional affirmative action measures to mainstream people living with disabilities, back to school initiatives to retool beneficiaries in order to increase their chances of employment and strategic oil routes to name but a few. The VP hailed the backyard garden and Ipelegeng programmes as ideal packages for poverty eradication. He accused the opposition of unjustifiably distorting and rubbishing the programmes.

“They are aware that both backyard garden and Ipelegeng programmes are widely accepted and appreciated throughout the country. Our goal is to eradicate abject poverty as quickly as possible and then shift focus to other categories,” he stated.

Kedikilwe defended Khama’s housing appeal stating that contrary to Saleshando’s claim, it is not as populist.

“Somehow the President’s housing appeal is also a source of goose pimples for the opposition benches especially the immediate former leader of the opposition. His Excellency the President is not just calling a few business people to donate housing to some poor individual in society. The call is to everyone,” asserted the Vice President.

“Honourable Dumelang Saleshando has discovered what is called Happy Planet Index. He celebrated with glee and relishes the notion that Botswana was ranked 151 out of 151 countries. But he deliberately and selectively failed to explain the details. Talk of deceit.” said Kedikilwe.

He further said that since the question of happiness was according to research purely subjective, it was not true that Batswana are not happy especially when compared to other countries such as Haiti, Somalia and Lybia.

He said that Botswana is ranked fairly in mineral potential and land use, its taxation regime and many other areas.

“…again the allegations of reports of corruption in public institutions are on the increase while the political leadership has remained indifferent…,” he said.

“This government has put in place very robust and efficient institutions to deal with all the challenges including corruption, and we continue to resource them accordingly. It is not the intention of the political leadership of this country to influence these quasi independent institutions,” he added.

Kedikilwe also defended Khama’s tendency to announce important government decisions at Kgotla meetings adding that Khama was justified in announcing that there would be no salary increment while Unions were still negotiating with government in events that led to the 2011 public sector strike.

“His Excellency the President has the right to inform citizens on whatever government programmes during Kgotla meetings and regarding this particular incident he never mentioned any amount so his pronouncement did not prejudice negotiations,” he stated.

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