The controversial Botswana Democratic Party Members of Parliament, Botsalo Ntuane, and Wynter Mmolotsi Friday came to the rescue of their fellow democrat, Phillip Makgalemele, rekindling the legislator’s motion which cabinet ministers ferociously battled to kill prematurely.
Makgalemele, the debutante Shoshong MP making his maiden contribution in parliament, moved a motion for the government to undertake a tracer study of out of school youth in Botswana so as to be informed of their plight, skills from their last academic training, their indigenous knowledge skills and career path objectives.
But he was condemned in the early stages by the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, and Minister of Education Pelonomi Venson-Motoi via interjections, insinuating the legislator was demanding what was already in place.
Worse still, they would argue the motion was incomprehensible, particularly that it was not specific to the areas of concern, let alone the phrasing.
However, the maverick Gaborone South West MP Ntuane re-ignited the motion to life when it seemed to have lost its glitter as a result of persistent interventions, arguing the motion was understandable and convenient in view of the current situation prevailing on the ground.
“I do not understand the reason we (legislators) would not follow the argument raised by our honourable MP Makgalemele, which is straight forward and does not invite any foreign elements to investigate. This motion is primarily geared to empower our youth but we seem to turn a blind eye. Our out of school youths are bearing the brunt of all social ills which needs government interventions,” he argued.
“But these are the people we engage in our party choirs. They are the people who sent most of us to this hallowed house. Don’t we know them during hard times -campaigning -only to forget them when we are in parliament? This is not the correct way of doing things. It is for this reason that I would always stand for any suggestions which attempt to empower the youth and, as such, support the motion raised,” declared Ntuane revamping the motion.
Former BDP executive secretary Mmolotsi also catapulted the argument to the peak, arguing the tracer study was important and a plausible move to take since it would assist government to surface intellect and quality skills most of which have been lost as “we evolve amid the rigorous tumbles of life”.
“Each and every one of us has had their own rigorous turbulences and tumbles in life. I remember schooling with very intelligent persons in both the primary and secondary school most of whom I have not seen for quite some time now.
I wonder where these talented individuals are today. But as fate would have it, they could be somewhere trying to make ends meet but without success and in the process wasting away their quality skills and as such the study is necessary,” he posited, adding that with the envisaged study such a wastage would be lessened.
He also did not take kindly to the automatic promotion of students to another level without a convincing pass and the cost sharing exercise, which he maintains hinders the underprivileged to succeed in their studies because their parents could not afford the school fees.
“Some of our government initiatives could be attributable to the plight our youth are currently facing. Our children are thrust into another level without convincing marks only to drop along the way because our government could not provide all sufficient places. They are also subjected to pay school fees under the cost sharing exercise, failure of which they would be disallowed to enter the school premises.”
“These exercises exacerbate the plight of our youths which, as a result, summons the intervention of the government. The answer is that a tracer study would be much more appropriate,” Mmolotsi reasoned.
Although he seemed vulnerable and rather bothered by ministerial interventions, Makgalemele lamented the growing number of drop outs in both the secondary schools, saying these people could be re-orientated and brought into the economic mainstream.
“There are quite a significant number of out of school youths who are roaming the country without employment. More worrisome is that some of these individuals possess quality skills which could empower them and assist in the development of this country.”
“Currently there are no integrated management systems to inform our government about the current situation tormenting our youth except to rely on overdue documents which talk a different language to what is prevailing today.
“The nitty-gritty of this motion is nothing less than to appeal to government to set a data base which would inform the government on periodic basis about the situation on the ground pertaining to youths’ plight in the country and, in the process, pave the way for the government to implement advanced and informed decisions as reflected in the data base,” said Makgalemele.
Debate on the motion continues next Friday.