Some youth in Francistown have expressed lack of trust and confidence in politicians, attributing their lack of interest in politics to unfulfilled promises to delivery and involvement of some politicians in theft and sex scandals.
Young people between the ages of 15 and 25 constitute a fifth of the world’s population, based on the questions that were tabled by the youth at a debate meeting between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidate, Wynter Mmolotsi, Ignatius Moswaane of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Motlhaleemang Moalosi of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Independent candidate Onkabetse Daniel in Francistown, there is a gap between the youth and politicians, a contributing factor to their apathetic attitude on politics.
The youth said at the beginning of the 10th Parliament, the ruling party had promised to better their lives but it had not fulfilled its promise as unemployment continues to haunt the youth. When responding, Moswaane, told them to not expect the Government to do everything for them, saying the BDP had introduced the National Internship Programme and more initiatives through the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture. He said if elected he would advocate for betterment of issues surrounding youth.
“If my grocery costs P500 how do I expect another person to depend on that as a salary?”
BCP’s Moalosi condemned the BDP’s Internship Programme as well as the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) saying it (BNYC) was a breeding ground for BDP youth. He condemned some Governmental departments, which continue to advertise posts seeking for Interns.
Mmolotsi (UDC) told the youth, “If the BDP has failed your parents, how do you expect them to represent you well?”
The youth also raised concern over some politicians who are always linked to scandalous activities , saying they expect politicians to lead by example and act sensibly to reflect well in the eyes of those looking up to them.
When responding, Independent candidate for Shashe West, Onkabetse Daniel said politicians “are public figures who have to account for their actions and once one ventures into politics, they have to know their lives cannot be private anymore”.
The youth also demanded clarity from politicians, as to whether they go into politics to make profit or to truly represent their respective communities. Moalosi said having worked for high profile international organisations and later resigning to venture into politics, for him it was not about the money but to represent his community truthfully.
Botswana Members of Parliament (MPs) earn a monthly salary of P15 000 while South African MPs earn a monthly salary of close to P80 000.
Observers reveal that today’s youth are less politically active than their predecessors and their voting rates are at an all-time low.
Court President for Tati Town Margaret Moojane said this calls for politicians to bridge the gap between themselves and the youth, hence clear voter apathy among the youth.
A basic principle is that support for the political participation of young people should extend across the electoral cycle as a continuous effort than as a one-off event three months before an election.
While they are often involved in informal, politically relevant processes, such as activism or civic engagement, observers also reveal they are not formally represented in national political institutions like Parliaments and many of them do not participate in elections. This can impact on the quality of democratic governance.
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.