Thursday, June 30, 2022

Youth to demonstrate during Budget Speech

A group of young people are planning to stage a “peaceful” demonstration at the National Assembly to coincide with the National Budget Speech by Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo on Monday, February 4th.
 
Phenyo Segokgo, one of the organisers and also president of the Botswana Movement for Democracy Youth League, says through the demonstration they hope to put pressure on the government to act tougher and lead by example in the fight against corruption, especially by top government officials.
 
 Segokgo said they (BMDYL) had written a letter to Office of the President demanding President Ian Khama to suspend ministers Kenneth Matambo and his deputy Vincent Seretse, ironically the two men whose ministry is in charge of the National Budget.

 Both men were at the time facing separate charges of corruption.
 
He said when they did not receive any response from the President’s office┬á┬á they followed up with a second letter and were told they would be given a response within ten days, which again, they did not receive.
 
┬á“Instead”, Segokgo said, “we heard the Presidential Spokesperson Dr Jeff Ramsay speaking through the media about how the issue had been explained in Parliament”.┬á
 
“We had stated in the┬á letter that should they fail to furnish us with answers we would resort to demonstrations, which is precisely what we will be doing come Monday,” he said.
 
Also on the agenda, Segokgo said, will be the latest Junior Certificate results, which he described as fraudulent and questioned their validity.

He said they have always called on the government to provide a suitable working environment for teachers in order to improve the quality of education. He cited the recent industrial strike as a sign of just how little the government cares about education.
 
On why they chose to demonstrate on February 4th, the same day of the National Budget speech, he said they felt the timing could not be better because they know the budget speech attracts international attention, presenting a perfect opportunity to expose the government to scrutiny.
 
He said the idea to demonstrate was initially hatched by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) youth and they have since invited all students from tertiary institutions to join in the peaceful demonstrations.    
 
He said they applied for a permit from the Police Service but were told the police would be too busy providing security for delegates at the National Assembly.

“But we sought legal advice from our lawyers who advised that as long as we demonstrate peacefully and disseminating our message through our printed T-shirts and placards there should not be any trouble,” ┬áSegokgo said.

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