Of Khama and his empty promises
The maxim “politics is a dirty game” or “politicians are motivated by self interests” or “politicians are liars and always make empty promises” are usually used as justification by some people for being apathetic in politics. Some vow never to vote because of these beliefs. There is some degree of truth in that some politicians lie and make empty promises. President Ian Khama is one such politician. He has made numerous empty promises when he ascended into office in April 1, 2008.
There is a plethora of promises he made. In addition to promises he made publicly in speeches, especially in 2008, 2009 and 2010, it appears that he had other intentions that he did not achieve and did not make public. What is worrying about his promises is that he is mum about how far he is or why he has not implemented them. He is refusing to be held accountable.
Khama promised Batswana decent houses through tenant purchase scheme at Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) whereby BHC tenants can buy housing units and pay in instalments. To this day no such plan is in place. He also promised a new housing scheme that would include high density and multi-residential houses for the youth and first-time homeowners, but to date, not a single housing complex has been built. What we obtain now is the that he has now assumed the role on NGOs by going around asking for donations from the private sector to build poor people houses.
He sought to make Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) to not charge interest on loans except for defaulters in order to foster citizen economic empowerment. CEDA still charges interest on loans. Value Added Tax (VAT) was to be exempted from tractors and farm implements etcetera. Only tractors are exempt from VAT and a very few essesntials unrelated to agriculture. Related to that, the President promised a contributory insurance scheme for the agricultural sector to make it easy for farmers to access loans and to mitigate the risks associated with the agricultural sector. That has not happened and farmers have difficulty accessing loans and agriculture remains a risky undertaking.
The President said premier league players were going to be paid a stipend, up to now there is no such arrangement. This was another empty promise. Patients needing organ transplant celebrated when His Excellency said the state was going to fund their procedures. The state does not pay for these exorbitant procedures and patients in need of these are still dying because they cannot afford to pay the medical bills.
Under Khama, there was hardly any government project that had been delivered within time and budget. Notwithstanding his threat to fire ministers who do not deliver, no minister has been kicked out on account of failure to deliver. The list of empty promises is not exhaustive.
Khama has to answer to Batswana on the disposal of his powers and duties, act upon this criticism or requirements made of him and accept responsibility for failure, incompetence or deceit. In a nutshell he has to account.