Former Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo, said it is very important for the government to make effective investment in education and health as well as prioritising children in public planning and budgetary processes.
Kenewendo, an economist and international trade specialist, said this when presenting a reported she co-authored with renowned economist, Dr Sennye Obuseng.
The report titled “Children in Budget 2021/22” was commissioned by Botswana Child Rights Network to analyse the national budget to determine the extent to which it prioritises children’s wellbeing, or does not, given the prescripts of the Children’s Act of 2009 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC or UNCRC).
The former cabinet minister suggested that the Children’s Act may be implemented and also reform the education system towards vision 2036.
“The future will be bleak if we don’t invest in our children because they are the future, “she said.
Kenewendo said that a child responsive budget should reflect the interests of the children and should be sensitive to age, gender and vulnerability of all children.
She added that it should create equal opportunities of survival, empowering, and protecting children.
According to Kenewendo, the budget should also be guided by the rights of children; the rights to be heard, survival and development at ministry and national level in order to ensure that their issues and needs are consistently dealt with.
She said that there should also be a supportive framework for efficient and utilization of resources that allows for monitoring and evaluation of the budget.
“Already, the money is there, we are not asking for anything new, we are just saying that there should be a considerable investment in children.”
Presenting on the report, Obuseng said the success of any country depends on how well it invest in its children, further explaining that human capital drives key development goals which are creativity, innovation, productivity and competiveness hence why it is important to make appropriate investment.
He said that nations that will own the future are those that invest effectively in their children, highlighting that the quantum of per capita resources invested in children matters.
Obuseng also added that the primary areas of investment should be based in minimising child poverty as this waste human capital because most of these children are born into poverty, live in families and communities that are poor.
He highlighted the importance of nutrition for the child’s well-being and said that it can lead to physical and mental stunting, heightened risk of poverty, wasting and death, therefore very vital to break these cycles.
In addition to this, Obuseng talked about the position of the law in Botswana, he pointed out that Botswana understands quite well about the rights of children and that Children’s Act 2002 makes clear the obligations of all duty bearers to children.
“In money metric terms, Botswana is amongst the biggest per capita investment on children,” he added.
He also added that Botswana may indeed be investing in children and rhetorically asked whether it is a smart and effective investment or not.
Obuseng demonstrated that Botswana does not have up to date statistics on child well-being and that there are no outcomes and targets for child development in its budget.
He said that the enforcement and monitoring mechanisms for Children’s Act are also very weak and that all these compromise the effectiveness of investment on children.
When commenting on investment in education, he said that in the year 2020, human capital was at 0.4 indicating a poor pass rate by students and also presumed that a government cannot build a knowledge based economy with such poor performance.
The Chairperson for BCRN, Motshwari Pitso said that for many years they have been watching as things unfold but them always being the consumers.
He added that since the formation of the network, it is no longer feasible for them to watch but engage in participations and platforms pertaining to children as children advocates.
Pitso also said that the network is committed to ensuring that all children throughout the country and the world at large grow up in a safe environment and have quality care which is their fundamental right.
He indicated that children are the foundation of the society and there must be sufficient resources directed towards child development.
“We don’t want a situation whereby when issues are being discussed, children are always last on the agenda, we want them to always be on the forefront of all discussions of every agenda,” he said.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.