TSABONG: Botswana National Front (BNF) and UDC President Duma Boko says the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)-led government has itself to blame for the consistent growth of abject poverty in Botswana.
Speaking at a rally at Motswaledi Freedom Square in Tsabong over the weekend, Boko said the BDP failed to remove causes of abject poverty in post-colonial Botswana.
Poverty in Botswana, he said, is mainly attributed to low income wages amongst low A-scale government employees, low retired pensioners grant and youth unemployment. “As we speak, the lowest earning employee gets P1,637 and upon retirement would be earning P2,801, a salary that realistically cannot not sustain even the family over retirement,” Boko argued.
He said upon retirement, the same employee would be subjected to employment at Ipelegeng that offers a discreditable allowance. “Imagine having worked tirelessly for 30 years and you are left with little option but to work for a programme that does not meet labour requirements of Botswana, such as the workman’s compensation,” he said.
He said government’s short term and unsustainable poverty eradication programmes have dismally failed to meet the expectations of Botswana, especially those residing in rural areas such as Kgalagadi. Upon UDC taking over in 2019, Boko said his government will introduce a minimum wage of P3000 for government employees.
As to how he will create 100,000 jobs for Batswana, Boko said he will introduce ward clusters for recruitment of youth to assist the already overwhelmed Botswana Police in fighting crime through patrols. He also said some youth will be engaged in environmental management interventions but all earning a minimum wage of P3000.
At the same rally, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD)’s Chairman Nehemiah Modubule told UDC supporters how Botswana’s presidents order extrajudicial killings.In May 1970 during Sir Seretse Khama’s Presidency, Modubule said, a certain Borolong Pastor Modibedi was executed for refusing to pay hut tax after he also urged others not do so. Also, under Sir Seretse, 3 Batswana were shot at and are still living with bullets inside their bodies, Modubule revealed.
Sir Ketumile Masire’s leadership on the other hand according to Modubule had a tendency of sitting on important public reports. He cited a commission of enquiry that was set up by Sir Seretse Khama on speculations that he (Masire) was using his powers in his office as Minister and VP, to acquire farms in the Barolong constituency. He said upon assuming power in in 1980 and up to now, the report was never released.
Modubule also cited the Segametsi Mogomotsi and Binto Moroke killings cases whose reports never saw the light of day following investigations by the Scotland Yard.
“Instead of applying calming measures to address the students, instead the BDP-led government under Masire ordered the severe attacks on the protesting students,” Modubule said.
He also took a swipe at former President Festus Mogae, saying under his leadership he deported Professor Kenneth Good for his role in assisting Duma Boko who advocated for Basarwa to continue living in the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR). Professor Good did not deserve to be deported, he argued.
“Mogae was implicated in a company, Owens Corning, allegedly accused of supplying substandard pipes to a construction of the project,” he said, also stating the matter was deliberated in parliament only for the BDP dominated parliament to shoot down the enquiry motion.
“The formation of the BMD came amid these disturbing circumstances hence overtime our founding leader Gomolemo Motswaledi was also controversially killed,” Modubule said.
Modubule also criticized Khama for the closure of BCL mine. “It later turned out that Khama’s government did not seriously take heed of the grievances of former BCL employees, families as well as Selibe-Phikwe and surrounding villages but went on to finalise the procurement of Grippen military jets at a cost of P22billion,” he said, also urging UDC members and Batswana in general to protest against the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM).