Monday, October 19, 2020

The Shame of Botswana’s Unemployment Crisis

A deficiency and failure of leadership could easily drive a nation into chaos, especially where there’s little quality advice in evidence at the top level of governance. Difficult and challenging situations in the life of any nation are always the right opportunities for great leaders to prove their mettle. There is no nation that can be at peace when the majority of its citizens have little hope of getting employed. In such grueling circumstances, no welfare support can cushion the painful effects of joblessness. 

The country’s current state of anomie has brought about general hopelessness to an otherwise active populace. Thus, the Batswana youths, among them thousands of unemployed graduates of tertiary institutions, have been driven to a state of desperation were some have resorted to competing for menial jobs to eke out a living. They appear unable to see any real future for themselves in a country so abundantly blessed with diamonds.

The hope to create jobs in Botswana falls flat on its face because it is almost impossible to create jobs in an economy without reliable power supply and an inexcusable infrastructural deficit. Every work strategy is driven by effective social services, sound education policy and functional national infrastructure which are still lacking in our diamond dependent economy.

When politicians are elected, they get the mandate and are duty bound to deliver on their promises as espoused in their manifestos, which, for the youths are job creation, affordable quality education and sensible poverty eradication programmes.  In this vital area, the government seems to have failed badly, and it is almost oblivious on the way forward. 

The leadership will have to explain to Batswana why they think that their tenures are more important than the people upon whose mandate they are in power. A BDP government that is unable to transform itself into an effective vehicle of governmental service delivery can certainly not transform the deteriorating state it is presiding over. The government has failed to keep its promise to combat corruption. Fear of DISS agents, corruption, joblessness are amongst some of the monsters this government is unable to peel off from our already battered global image. 

A leader is as good as the counsel he gets. Of course, that also depends on the character of the leader, which always defines the type of leader he is ÔÇô if he is the type that listens, is all knowing or self-centered. What this suggests is that the advisers of President Ian Khama are either not doing their job properly or the President is being misled on issues that are critical to the development of Botswana. There’s an urgent need for the President to reassess his policies and begin to initiate well thought-out policies, to forestall any further dip in the economy. Already, Botswana is suffering from double standards with regard to the war against corruption and alleged money laundering; the main reason it has caught the attention of the US government.

With only a few years before his term ends, the President ought to be refueling his agenda to transform the nation and reinvent himself as an effective leader who could provide the expected deliverables. The President must recalibrate himself to be able to face the overwhelming challenges successfully. He needs to repackage his agenda to address the immediate needs of the people.

The management of international relations is certainly not one of the strong points of this government as history would record. Our democracy is moving at snail’s pace while the suffering masses continue to cry out over economic alienation.

Botswana is a nation in the throes of job crisis. The country’s economic fortunes are losing headway on a daily basis and life for the ordinary citizen is becoming extremely agonising. It remains to be seen whether the current leadership will manage to snatch the country from jaws of malfunction and steer it to a radical new paradigm of economic dynamism and national revival.

The fact is, a great national crisis must not overwhelm a leader, but must bring out the best in them. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case with Botswana. We have experienced at least three major national crises that virtually pushed this country to the precipice; notably, power and water shortages, corruption, and joblessness, but those at the helm of affairs never seized on any of these critical occasions to steer the nation towards safe shores.

Thus, so much expectation is based on government’s current determination to address lapses in the power and water sectors as well as corruption. But there appears to be a subtle feeling in the polity that the President would not be able to stem corruption in his government let alone fight against other problems bedeviling the country. These last few years are definitely the defining moment for the President to transform himself and engrave his name in gold.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

How secretive was the BFA ballot?

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) election train has long passed, but the rails are still as hot as ever.