While the government preaches poverty eradication as one way of meeting the goals of Vision 2016, two of the country’s opposition parties argue that this is yet another clap trap.
“At BCP, we have been very clear since our formation about Vision 2016,” said Taolo Lucas of the Botswana Congress party. “The pillars of the Vision are relevant and appropriate but we do not have a government that can realize the pillars of this vision. The Government economic program that has no clear citizen economic empowerment agenda cannot help this country to attain the prosperity envisaged in the Vision 2016.”
Continued Lucas: “We cannot have an educated and informed nation when our education is collapsing as it is; nor can we eradicate poverty when we are failing to diversify the economy through innovative projects. Our government lacks both the imagination and the will power to deliver on the vision.”
The Botswana National Front (BNF), on the other hand, acknowledges that the Vision 2016 goals are noble but the party regrets that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is “not the right vehicle to take us to this destination”.
“In fact, most, if not all, of the BDP policies are going in the opposite direction. The party is daily breeding poverty, unemployment squalor and deprivation,” said Moeti Mohwasa, the BNF spokesman. “It has no respect for fundamental human rights, liberties and economic empowerment of Batswana. The BDP government is becoming more secretive and has no respect for the private press yet it is hoped that by 2016 we will have an “open, democratic and accountable society”.”
Mohwasa said that as long as the BDP is in power, any attempts to achieve the Vision 2016 goals will come badly unstuck.
“We should, as a nation, understand that things don’t just happen; you work towards achieving them by putting in place policies that are friendly towards attainment of such a goal. The Vision itself was a public relations exercise. It came after the BNF’s Social Democratic Programme, which was launched in 1995. In fact Vision 2016 is a subtly plagiarised version of the BNF’s Social Democratic Programme.”
The BNF spokesman says Vision 2016 is a knee-jerk reaction to the growing popularity of the BNF.
“The BNF had done extremely well in the 1994 general elections and the BDP had to come up with something to counter its growing influence. A cursory look at the seven pillars/objectives of the Vision which have to be achieved in 2016 will show that we are actually walking away from them if you take into account the BDP government policies,” he says.