Sunday, October 17, 2021

#UnemploymentMovement- Botswana

The hash-tag (#) era in which we live in has been taken a notch higher by going as far as threatening to get the youth across the country boycott the furore around the Botswana’s Golden Jubilee of 50 years of independence if their plea to government to take unemployment seriously is not responded to. The #UnemploymentMovement is a group of eager likeminded youth willing to take a stand in the forefront of the fight against youth unemployment.

They intend to hold a peaceful demonstration on August 8th 2016 and on August 13th they intend to hand over a written petition citing all of their concerns to the relevant Ministers. In this petition there will be a set timeframe for them to get a response and once the timeframe lapses it is when they will encourage the youth to boycott all the BOT50 events.   

The spokesperson of this ‘Movement’ Kesaobaka Maruping spoke to the Sunday Standard earlier this week and explained that they were triggered by the now famous Tlamelo Tsurupe who recently single handedly took to the streets and marched all the way to the Parliament buildings holding a placard which was calling the legislators to take action against youth unemployment.

Maruping stated that their movement considers the rate of unemployment a national crisis and they are calling to policy makers to make means of creating sustainable employment for the multitudes of graduates churned out by tertiary institutions across the country. He further stated that they intend to use all forms of mainstream media and social media platforms to spread their message to the youth across the country and ultimately establish branches across the regions for further mobilisation.

“It is important to note that this is not a political movement nor is it politically motivated or influenced, the petition will be a plea to all legislators regardless of political affiliation to consider the current situation and make the necessary amends in our policies to make a positive change,” explained Maruping. He further cited what they consider stringent immigration in Botswana laws that dissuade foreign investors who could arguably create more jobs for Batswana. 

Whilst many might think that the youth would welcome suggestions by the Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng recently when he met local performing artists that they are considering increasing trading hours for entertainment and liquor outlets to curb crime rates, Maruping and his team are actually astonished at these utterances. They consider the increased incidents of crime to be perpetuated as most youth are unemployed they turn to a life of crime as a means of survival and instead of advocating for increased trading hours Maruping feels the minister should rather be advocating for job creation. 

#UnemploymentMovement’s short term goals include a publicity drive across all mainstream and social media platforms in advocating for a change in policy specifically targeting sustainable employment creation.  One of their biggest bones of contention is the red tape and bureaucracy surrounding all initiatives put in place by government for youth empowerment. There are programs in place but they are not easily accessible.      

Regarding the current internship program and the Government Volunteer scheme, one of the members, a Katlego Bibby stated that they consider those as exploitation of the youth as they are not being adequately remunerated taking into consideration their qualifications and the work they put in.   

This Movement is targeting every unemployed and under employed Motswana under the age of 35 seeing as the unemployment scourge seems to be escalating with time.

The Tlamelo Tsurupe Story…. The Day in a life of an unemployed Youth

This soft spoken young man sent set social media ablaze a few weeks ago when he turned up at parliament holding up a placard calling the legislators to take the unemployment crisis seriously. From the horse’s mouth this is what transpired:

Tsurupe arrived at the building at ten o’clock in the morning and patiently awaited the session to begin at two o’clock in the afternoon. When members started arriving in the afternoon he claims he was approached by most of the opposition members of parliament indicating support in his cause. He was then approached by 2 security guards who informed him that they had been given instructions to removed from the premises to which he asked which law was he breaking by his presence there and who had ordered his removal?

The guards retreated but they were soon followed by a police officer who informed him to leave because he needed some kind of permit to be there, twenty minutes later a police vehicle is said to have come with police officers forcing him to leave and ultimately ensuing in a scuffle. 

Tsurupe claims he was then taken to Central Police station where 2 opposition Mps came to his rescue.

What triggered these actions?

Tsurupe upon completion of his Form 5 was in the process of trying to access the Youth Development Fund (YDF) and he was informed that the project he wanted embark on was not within the parameters of the projects funded. He was further instructed to consult other financiers like bank of which he does not qualify as he does not have security. 

#UnemploymentMovement will hopefully help curb the current unemployment rate in Botswana.  

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