Statistics Botswana this week announced stats indicating that employment in Botswana is increasing, contrary to the general sentiment of growing unemployment amid job losses suffered in the mining and related sectors in recent years.
The preliminary results of the Botswana Multi Topic Household Survey under Economic Activity were released this week showing a decline from 19.9 percent in 2011 to 17.6 percent. The survey was carried out during the 2015/2016 period. Statistics Botswana targeted a population of those aged 18 years and above, estimated at 1, 2 million of which 838 002 were economically active and 430 675 were economically inactive.
One of the major contestation is the inclusion of Ipelegeng in the employment stats, representing a total of 6.2 percent. Previously Minister of Finance and Economic Development Kenneth Matambo had stated in parliament that the exercise of including Ipelegeng workers on employment figures is to satisfy the International Labour Organisation (ILO) requirements that guide data collection regarding employment. Ipelegeng, a controversial government initiative however does not provide long term jobs as the beneficiaries are also expected to serve one month and then give others a chance. According to the stats, the program is employment for 52000 individuals while quasi-government institutions only employed 36000 individuals.
While qausi-government institutions are seen as strategic institutions for both money generation and employment, opponents of the institutions believe they rarely grow and have contributed little over the years. The release of the unemployment statistics come in the wake of gravest joblessness in the history of Botswana following the closure of the BCL mine and Tati Copper Nickel mine, which have led to over 6000 individuals employed by those companies losing their jobs instantly. More jobs have been also lost in the mining sector.
Statistic Botswana Deputy Statistician General, Dr Burton Mguni revealed that, in gathering the data, they were only considering those who have been looking for employment in the last 30 days. A chunk of unemployed individuals who did not participate in job seeking activity, do no form part of the unemployed bunch, according to the organisation. Statistic Botswana chief, Anna Majelantle was however excited with the progress as she noted that her organisation had a total of sixteen modules covering a range of topics. “Due to the extensive data collected and the need for detailed analysis of each, Statistic Botswana has adopted a modular approach to the release of the survey results. The final product will be a comprehensive report,” she said.
“This was the second multi modular survey after the 2009/10 Botswana Core Welfare Indicator Survey. The primary objective of the survey is to provide a comprehensive set of indicators for labour market and poverty. Many of you will know that poverty eradication and employment creation are priority areas in this country.” Statistic Botswana works jointly with the University of Botswana and Human Resources Development Council. According to the findings, the private sector remains the largest employer as it represents 44.6 percent of the labour force, followed by government with 22.1 percent, private households with 12.2 percent and subsistence farming with 9.9 percent.
FEMALE UNEMPLOYMENT HIGHER
The stats also reveal that women are on the receiving end of unemployment as compared to their male counterpart. About 19.1 percent of women were unemployed compared to 16.3 percent of males.
The survey estimated youth (15-35 years) unemployed at 25.2 percent, with female unemployment higher at 26.9 percent compared to 23.6 percent for males.
UNEMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
Majority (39.4%) of those who were unemployed were junior certificate holders followed by secondary school certificate holders with 22.4 percent. Unemployment among university degree holders was estimated at 11.4 percent, the research revealed.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.