President Lt Gen Ian Khama is tearing his hair out as unemployed Batswana hold him to his 2014 pre-election promise to create jobs for them.
Following Khama’s recent statement at a public service employees meeting in the Thamaga/Kumakwane constituency that government cannot create new vacancies, some job seekers reacted angrily accusing the President of going back on the promises he made prior to the 2014 general elections.
The promises relate to a letter entitled “Have your received my letter?” written by Khama in the build up to the 2014 general elections. In the letter, President Khama stated: “I’m impatient to do for our citizens who cannot find work, especially our talented youth.”
Asked if the President has failed to deliver or climbed down on the ‘urgent promise’ he had made, President Khama’s Press Secretary Gobe Pitso said that employment creation remains a priority for Khama and government.
“What His Excellency has been consistently saying is that Government should create an enabling environment for the private sector so that they in turn would take the lead to drive economic growth, as well as diversification and consequently employment creation,” said Pitso.
He added that “To this end, efforts towards this realization are of course being pursued, as evidenced by the policies and programmes that have been put in place.”
In his letter Khama had also stated that “…I’m pained when I meet Batswana who are unable to provide for their families. We must do more when re-elected, I will personally take responsibility for this issue, by prioritizing job creation. Aggressive action is needed, and that is what we will do.”
Asked what could have motivated President Khama’s recent statement that government was constrained from creating new posts, Gobe explained that a question had been raised from the floor by the Ministry of Health indicating that they were understaffed.
Gobe further explained that in his response, the President informed concerned officers that records show that the Ministry of Health has a lot of vacancies.
“What is crucial and needs to be done is for the Ministry to comprehensively rationalise posts and prioritise those areas where there is critical requirement in this regard,” said Gobe.
A youthful group of jobseekers were recently whipped by the police after they had gathered outside Parliament petitioning the government to create jobs.
Reports also indicate that Botswana employment figures are expected to rise as a number of organisations and companies continue to retrench workers. Recently the Botswana Telecommunication Limited (BTCL) retrenched more than 60 employees.