The Member of Parliament for Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse has expressed disappointment over government’s failure to address the problems be-devilling the youth despite the country’s seemingly good economic record.
Giving his farewell remarks as the outgoing BCP Youth League President during the BCP elective congress held in Francistown over the weekend, Dithapelo said despite the transformation of Botswana from being a poor country at independence to an upper middle income country today, the country continues to fail young people.
“Unemployment, poverty, income and wealth inequalities and lack of access to economic and business opportunities by the youth are worrying features of Botswana’s economy. Young people actively looking for jobs remain unemployed in any renumerative productive activity. Others who are unemployed have since given up on searching for jobs completely,” he said.
Keorapetse also said youth unemployment is caused by the flawed education system and undiversified economy. He said that it is high time that the youth ask government probing questions on why they cannot get decent jobs after graduating.
“They should ask the government why they cannot graduate from poverty and why income and wealth disparities continue. They must demand answers from the powers that be on why the country has failed to diversify its economy from mining to large scale manufacturing base. Young people should ask why the agriculture sector has collapsed,” he said.
He attacked the ruling Botswana Democratic Party(BDP) for coming up with programmes such as Ipelegeng, constituency league, arts and culture competitions, backyard gardening, youth boot camps and graduate internship programmes. He said the programmes have failed to add value to the lives of Batswana.
“At BCP, we seek to diversify the economy away from mining through mineral beneficiation, manufacturing industry, tourism and agriculture. We believe in the generation of wealth through mitigated free market economy that emphasizes redistributive justice,” he said.
Keorapetse also accused President Ian Khama for regressing Botswana’s democracy. He said under his leadership, tough measures have been introduced on many fronts such as the alcohol levy, tougher liquor regulations, hefty traffic fines and limits to civil liberties through the use of the security sector among others. He also said that under President Khama’s administration corruption, mismanagement, lack of transparency and non accountability and unethical governance continue unabated.
However touching on the achievements his committee made during his tenure as the BCP Youth League President he said the BCP achieved a milestone when it adopted the Affirmitive Action Policy and put it into its constitution.
“This is a great achievement for the youth. Our Youth League and Women’s league pushed for the adoption and implementation of the policy and the ultimate adoption of the policy should not only be seen as a milestone in our party but as a great achievement by the party auxiliary structures,” he said. He also said that BCP Youth League is revered for its timely response to topical issues and holding the government accountable. He said for this reason the BCP Youth league has maintained the relevance of the party and contributed to its visibility.
Among some of the challenges he faced during his tenure as president of the youth league, he said that the BCP Youth League does not have resources as members use their own resources.
“Because of the resources constraints the BCP youth league has failed to build enough structures. We also concede that we have failed to forge cooperation and networking with other youth movements around the country,” he said.
He however said that they will work together as the BCP to try and address the challenge.