Opposition Members of Parliament on Friday called for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to be removed from power because it had failed to improve the lives of ordinary Batswana in the close to 48 years that it has been in power.
When debating a motion tabled by Shoshong MP Phillip Makgalemele, requesting government to develop a strategy aimed at attracting investors to rural areas in order to fast tract employment creation and poverty eradication, opposition legislators slammed the ruling party for failing to devise strategies that would uplift the lives of Batswana in both urban and rural areas.
In his motion, Makgalemele cast doubt on government’s efforts to develop rural communities and called for a targeted approach that would be directed at attracting investors to rural areas. He said rural areas are experiencing the highest incidents of poverty in Botswana.
“The motion raised by Makgalemele is noble and must be welcomed. But we would like to know what the ruling party has been doing all these years since independence in 1966. What strategies did they employ to boost investor confidence and attract businesses to both rural and urban areas,” asked Okavango MP Bagalatia Arone.
He blamed the ruling party for the glaring disparities between the rich and the poor and maintained that such disparities will continue to grow because the BDP has no strategies that are aimed at improving the plight of rural folk.
“Where is the Etsha 6 community cooperative? You destroyed it just as you destroyed the education system in Botswana. The education system has not worked for our rural communities. The rural population is suffering because your party did not address the education skills gap,” he said.
Arone added that the BDP has failed to provide decent jobs for the rural population because their trump card, Ipelegeng has failed the test.
“Clearly the BDP has failed the people. Only a new government can solve the problems afflicting Batswana,” said Arone.
MP for Maun West Tawana Moremi said it was unfortunate that the BDP government always boasted about its large foreign reserves that are lying idle in banks overseas when they should be used to improve the lives of Batswana.
He urged government to use the reserves to inject capital into tangible infrastructure development projects.
“So long as you keep that money in far-flung rural areas that we know nothing about, Botswana will remain undeveloped without prospective investors. You can boast about your international ratings and large foreign reserves, but if you don’t have money in your pockets you will never be able to assist Batswana,” he said.
He added that Makgalemele’s noble motion will remain a pipe dream under the BDP because in Botswana people in rural areas are forced to compete for space with animals.
When responding to Makgalemele’s motion, Gaborone North MP Keletso Rakhudu, who speaking on behalf of the substantive Minister Dorcus-Malesu Makgato, argued that the ruling party has long strived to improve the lives of all Batswana including the rural population.
He gave an example of the Ministry of Local Government, which has been renamed to add the tag “Rural Development” as an indication that government was continuously re-aligning its operations to cater for the needs of the rural population.