Thursday, October 1, 2020

“Botswana is not an African success story”

Dear editor

Newspaper after newspaper, and for a long time now, have said it and don’t seem like they will stop, hence the urge for me to raise my concern.

This, I believe, has the potential to mislead people as Botswana is not a success story but, instead, stands a better position to be a success story.

The pluses of Botswana are democracy, peace and stability.

The sound economic conditions are as a result of tourism, beef and mineral exports.

Looking internally at the country’s national performance, we have a horrible scenario;
*Retrenchments: I haven’t had a chance to check the employment and retrenchment statistics of our country but from what we read, retrenchments are appallingly high.

It makes one wonder on a daily basis how many Batswana lose their jobs.

*Delayed developments: in 1997 I went to Lesotho and they had cellular phone services and we, as “a success story,” didn’t have.

Upon visiting Swaziland, I was impressed by their open roads despite the challenging mountainous landscape. Our capital city doesn’t have even a single CCTV camera to aid in city monitoring and this aids criminals. Even BTV didn’t come on time; the best time was when GBC started. Now we have the next university being delayed and we want to claim supremacy!

*Roads: our roads are in an appalling state, all of them! Look at A1; what is being done to it is maintenance when the road needs to be upgraded to dual carriage.

With the opening of the other university we shall see how it shall respond. Roads bring developments and they need to be developed.

All villages in Botswana need to be interlinked with tarred roads.

This will, in turn, lead to cheap transportation costs and speed up development of those places.

Lack of good roads can be better understood by visiting Kgalagadi district, where almost all government vehicles have reserve tanks. A trip that will require one full tank takes two or more tanks, even the life span of the vehicles gets reduced. From Hukuntsi to Zutshwa a distance of 40km one takes about 2 hours.

As a result of poor roads, goods become extremely expensive to residents, yet we expect them to buy shares in companies.

*Misuse of resources: despite this concern having been voiced in the past, no action has been taken. The purchase of expensive and unnecessary vehicles by some departments is a disgrace.

Another question is: do these people work inside the cars or what and us with lower positions what should we use, take donkeys to work?

As I contemplated writing this letter, I came across the Happy People Index. Though it might have its own flaws, I find that I agree with it to some extent.
We should not just throw it away but learn a few things from it so next year we can fare better.

Recently, one edition of The Sunday Standard carried a commentary which equated Botswana to the likes of China and India, something I feel is highly misleading. Botswana is still very far behind.
Having had the opportunity to watch the Young Zebras play and snatch the cup at the just finished 4 Nations tourney in Shenyang (China), the words of our ex-President from his book, when he said that “the luck we had in Botswana is not only because we found diamonds, but also that we discovered the people,” have become clear.

Botswana is the home of raw talent and what needs to be done is just to unearth it.

Despite being in a place that intimidates in all aspects, e.g., about 50 percent of the people in China had never seen blacks before, the loudspeakers and the immediate environment displaying Chinese characters, the boys were all shining, including the reserve keeper who had a chance to display spectacular skills. Other Africans at the games were also surprised.

Let’s work together and make our country a shining example of Africa, an African success story.

Kanu Kanu
(South Africa)

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