Saleshando blames Khama for escalating unemployment
Says unemployment rate plummeted from 17.8% to 22% since he took office
Since President Ian Khama took office in 2008, the unemployment rate plummeted from 17.8% to 22% despite his promise to create more jobs during his campaign. This is according to President of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando who gave Khama a thumbs down during a media briefing yesterday (Monday).
He said that following the harassment of unemployed youth in parliament last week, it is clear that this is one of the issues that the BDP government is embarrassed about and do not want people talking about.
“When we went for general elections, Khama released a statement saying if he is re-elected, his main focus would be creating new job opportunities. But if you look at his track record, when he ascended to power eight years ago, unemployment rate was 17.8% and today it is at 22%. This is a clear indication that his government has increased the number of unemployed people in Botswana,” he said.
He further noted that people who work for ipelegeng have since increased more than those who worked for the program under Festus Mogae’s government. This he said means that government had in actual fact packed a huge pool of Botswana’s labour force in Ipelegeng even though they are not counted in the unemployment rate.
“If they were to be counted as part of the unemployment rate, we will possibly go well over 25% of unemployed Batswana. The truth of the matter is since Khama took office, there has been more job losses than job created and this is embarrassing to him and his party.” Saleshando said this is the reason why government had taken a decision to harass those who question it on the issue.
“As the BCP we believe that it makes no sense to be creating jobs in other countries with our mineral resources while this could be used to benefit many unemployed Batswana here,” he said, further noting that Batswana were given false promises with Vision 2016 that by this year the country would have reached full employment, save for those who would voluntarily opt to not be employed. This, he said, is part of the reason why the BDP government would rather sweep the issue under the carpet.
Last week, a group of youth protested in front of parliament with placards decrying the hopeless situation they are in which they say government has not been proactive about. However, instead of being addressed on the issues, the Parliament Speaker whipped up the rule book together with Minister Shaw Kgathi who appeared to have no sympathy over the fact that the youth in question were disproportionately reacted to by the police who left thick whip marks in their backs, briefly detaining some of them together with journalists who were covering the development.