Opposition Botswana Movement for Democracy and Botswana Congress Party politicians in Old Naledi location say President Ian Khama’s donation of blankets is a blatant move to buy votes ahead of the national elections in 2014.
Followed by a huge entourage, among them the Minister of Education, President Khama descended on the impoverished Old Naledi over the weekend and donated blankets.
He also passed time with the residents sharing with them hampers and fast foods.
“This is not what the people of Old Naledi want. The people of Naledi want the creation of sustainable employment not Ipelegeng so that they can buy their own blankets,” reiterated Old Naledi Central Ward councilor Oabile Mafunga following in the footsteps of his party leadership position.
BMD leadership, including the opposition BCP, Botswana National Front and Botswana Peoples Party have on numerous times questioned the motive of the doling out of blankets, interpreting the move as a political gimmick by the ruling party.
Mafunga, a BMD prospective candidate for the ward in 2014 general elections, indicated there was too much poverty in the area to be eradicated by blankets.
“Blankets cannot sustain anybody,” he said, adding that, besides, the gifts were also a cause of conflict and breakdown of homes as families fight over them.
BCP possible candidate in the ward, Lotty Manyapetsa, reiterated his rival’s sentiments saying the ruling Botswana Democratic Party was responsible for the “walking” poverty in the location through their wasteful policies.
“They made the people of Old Naledi poor and now they hide their mischief under the donation of blankets,” said Manyapetsa. “This is a blatant move by the ruling party and their president to buy votes.”
With a population of more than 20 percent able-bodied youths unemployed in Old Naledi and clearly unable to sustain themselves with the remunerations they obtain from the temporary Ipelegeng project, Manyapetsa said it is high time president Khama came with concrete employment creation ideas.
“Old Naledi people want to be given an opportunity to fend for themselves not through donations or Ipelegeng,” he said. “Besides the residents were also pampered with soup and makhwinya.“
Manyapetsa further wondered what the people of Old Naledi are eating now that Khama’s entourage had left the place.
The ruling Botswana Democratic Party councilor for Old Naledi North, Ntebaleng Modise, has however countered the arguments.
“President Khama came to our location as a parent to check on his people,” Modise said, adding that donations were part of President Khama humble and caring attributes.
“Our government has numerous self sustainable projects which Batswana could venture into.”