Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) will this coming weekend hold peaceful demonstrations against a Bill seeking to introduce Electronic Voting Machines.
The demonstrations will also target unemployment, dismal performance in education sector and the abuse of state media by the ruling party.
Speaking at a media conference held by the combined opposition on Monday, the leader of Botswana Congress Party Dumelang Saleshando said it is important as political parties to accord the public chance to show where they stand in any issue that may arise. He said demonstrations are a way of showing those who lead the country how the public is concerned on any matter that may arise. It could be any matter that indirectly or directly affects the public.
“We are targeting four issues this weekend, the first one is on Electronic Voting Machines, secondly how Botswana Television is operating in terms of coverage, thirdly we look unto unemployment and lastly we will look into the Education sector,” said Saleshando.
Opposition parties argue that the issue on the use of electronic machines will not only affect political parties but Batswana as well hence the need to make government aware of their dissatisfaction.
On unemployment Saleshando said, “We have seen the reverse of what President Ian Khama has promised as far as unemployment is concerned. When Khama took office in 2008 unemployment rate was at 16.8 percent today unemployment rate is at 22 percent,” said Saleshando
On his part Botswana Peoples Party leader Motlatsi Molapisi said demonstrations are part of political landscape and it is important that the public show with their actions if they are not happy, “it does not help anyone if we keep quiet in our houses and hope for a better Botswana. People should get in the streets and voice their displeasures,” said Molapisi.
He said Batswana cannot only rely on politicians to speak for them, they should stand for themselves.
Nehemiah Modubule who was standing in for Botswana Movement for Democracy President Ndaba Gaolatlhe said they have to face unemployment.
“We should all stand against unemployment in this country. We should take this war to the leaders of this country,” he said.
In closing UDC leader Duma Boko said Botswana is an upper middle income country and where Botswana stands right now can be compared to Mauritius,
“We are land locked country and Mauritius is sea locked but when we compare this two countries Mauritius is so far away.”
“The difference between the poor and the rich is unbearable, this means the economy is in the hands of few. When you look at numbers they show that Batswana who are considered to be having an input in the economy of this country are less than three percent while the rest of percentages goes to the hands of not indigenous Batswana,” said Boko.
Demonstrations logistics will be communicated this week. The opposition is still awaiting permission to demonstrate from Botswana Police.