Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Study says Batswana want declaration of assets and liabilities

A study by Afro Barometer has revealed that a considerable number of citizens are actually in support of a law on declaration of assets and liabilities by the country’s politicians and top government officials.

Out of the 1200 Batswana interviewed by the Afro Barometer team, over 50 percent of those interviewed expressed support for declaration of assets and liabilities by cabinet ministers. The respondents prefer a disclosure of assets and liabilities to an independent body instead of the President as is currently the case.

From the study, 64 percent were in support of the law on asset declaration being extended to sitting Members of Parliament, heads of Parastatals and senior government officials.

On another issue, relating to accountability by politicians, the study found out that a majority of Batswana do not support floor crossing by either Members of Parliament or sitting Councilors.

Around 80 percent of those interviewed believe that it is only prudent for an MP or councilor to resign his position before he or she can join another party. The respondents preferred the holding of fresh elections.

Under President Ian Khama’s administration, it has emerged that satisfaction with Botswana’s democracy is on the decline. Compared to a previous study done in 2008 when Festus Mogae was still President, where the level of satisfaction stood at 83 percent, recent results show a decline to 70 percent.

The study also uncovered that there is a general lack of confidence on political institutions. Trust in President Ian Khama as head of government has recorded a 7 percent decline and dropping from close to 80 percent to 69 percent.

Most disturbingly, there is a lack of trust on parliament as a key law making body and a critical institution in Botswana’s democracy. While in 2008 its approval rating stood at 66 percent, this year’s study recorded only 54 percent, thus representing a drop of 12 percent.

The observed lack of confidence also extends to local government, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Police and military as well as the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS).

Government has, however, received a thump up on most social service deliveries. Two thirds approved of the government for providing water and sanitation, 65 percent approved the government for providing a reliable supply of electricity and a 63 percent were happy about government’s performance in maintaining roads and bridges.

“Overall, such findings are a reflection that the government might have focused more on social issues and neglected the economic welfare of its people. These findings also suggest that although the government might have been performing well in most areas such as health, education, service delivery and women empowerment, still a significant proportion of the population is yet to enjoy the fruits of the well managed economy. A lot still needs to be done to create jobs, control the ever rising inflation and manage the income disparity,” states a press statement from Afro Barometer.

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