BDP 1989 Manifesto Botswana

August 15, 2011 at 21:01 Leave a comment

Please click BDP 1989 Manifesto Botswana to open the full document as pdf-file.

BOTSWANA DEMOCRATIC PARTY (from the Original document)

Issued by D.K. Kwelagobe, Secretary General, Botswana Democratic Party, Gaborone and printed by Printing & Publishing Co. Botswana (Pty) Ltd. P.O. Box 130 Gaborone



This is the sixth Manifesto of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). Its publication is significant for several reasons.

Firstly: The BDP is the only party in Botswana which has produced a comprehensive manifesto, setting out its goals and policies for voters to study, before every national election since 1965.
Secondly: The BDP manifestos appeal to all Batswana, not to any single group or segment of our society. The BDP, alone, has contested every single constituency in every single national election. We are a truly national party.
Thirdly: It is significant that there have been five national elections in Botswana, at roughly five year intervals – the last in 1984. The BDP has not succumbed to the temptation of dispensing with free elections or declaring a one-party state.
Fourthly: It is noteworthy that the same party, the BDP, has convincingly won every election, not because the opposition parties have been banned. Not because dissent and criticism have been suppressed. But because the BDP has been able to change and evolve as circumstances have changed. Although our principles have remained unaltered, each of our first five manifestos spelt out new policies, announced new programmes, charted new directions. The 1989 Manifesto is no exception. The BDP has demonstrated a capacity to innovate and to respond to new challenges.
We are not locked into any immutable alien ideology or tied to any ‘ism ‘. Within the context of our deeply-held values and beliefs about the nature of Botswana society, we remain a pragmatic party, a party that accepts the reality of change. This manifesto deals with the next five years. It tells you, the voter, what to expect if any when the BDP wins the 1989 Elections. Unlike other parties, the BDP will not make extravagant promises which we know we cannot keep. Unlike other parties, we cannot base our appeal to the electorate on attacks on the record of any other party – because the other parties have no record to attack, except in some urban areas where, sadly they have accomplished remarkably little! This Manifesto will not personalize issues or focus exclusively on sectional interests. The BDP is not the party of any single tribe or any economic class, nor is it essentially either a rural or an urban party. As this Manifesto amply demonstrates, the BDP is concerned with national issues, with the lives and welfare of all Batswana, now and in decades to come. While this 1989 Mangesto quite properly looks ahead, no voter should forget what the BDP has achieved for Botswana since the first elections in 1965. Botswana was founded on a solid foundation of participatory democracy which comprised, inter alia, Village Development Committees, District Development Committees and Parliament in preparation of NDPs. Further, we have maintained multiparty democracy, freedoms, respect for the rule of law, peace and stability. It is from this base that economic progress derives its strength. From being one of the poorest countries in the world at independence, Batswana now have one of the highest levels of per capita income in Africa. Lacking roads, education and medical services in 1966, Botswana – despite its vast physical size and long distances, now has one of the best transportation, education and health systems. Whereas per capita income actually fell since independence in most of the continent, it rose rapidly in Botswana. Where many developing countries have contracted foreign debts which absorb virtually all of their export earnings, Botswana’s debt service obligations consume a small fraction of its annual foreign exchange earnings and public revenues. In addition Botswana under the BDP Government enjoys freedom, honest government, functioning markets and a stable economy.
Diamonds? Yes, the discovery and development of substantial diamond deposits in Botswana contributed greatly to Botswana’s remarkable success. But it was the BDP Government which encouraged international mining companies to prospect in Botswana. It was the BDP Government which negotiated mining agreements which ensured that Botswana obtained a fair share of the benefits which accrued from mining agreements which have been widely cited as models for equitable long-term partnerships between the mineral-rich developing countries and international mining houses. It was the BDP, Government which obtained grants, loans and technical assistance from many sources -bilateral, international, West, East – to create roads, schools, hospitals, health centres, dams, power stations and low-cost housing – which supported Botswana’s rapid economic growth. And it was the BDP Government which built up the Public Service so that the Government could become an effective instrument through which the revenues generated by mining development – primarily diamonds – could be converted into projects and programmes which have benefited the whole country.
No Swiss bank accounts! No palaces! No white elephants! Little if any wastage! No elitism!
Consistently over nearly 25 years, the BDP has honoured its pledge that ordinary Batswana should reap the benefits from economic development.
Which other party can match that record?  Election year sloganeering? No. Pragmatism? Yes.
Published World Bank data (see 1987 World Bank Atlas) reveals that the increase in per capita income in Botswana over the period 1973 to 1985 was second only to Singapore; that access to primary health services in Botswana has become among the best in Africa; that Botswana is among the Third World leaders in its progress towards universal secondary education. Botswana is acclaimed throughout the World as a shining example of a Third World economic success: an exception – an example to others! What is truly remarkable about the BDP Government’s record of economic accomplishments is that it has managed Botswana’s phenomenal development since Independence within the context of a free and open society and a truly democratic political system. Multiparty democracy is encouraged. Constructive criticism is welcomed. Development was not accomplished through the oppression of a voteless working class; nor was it achieved through the iron reign of a benevolent dictator. In contrast to many ‘successful’ developing countries, a small clique of powerful people did not enrich themselves at the expense of the population at large. Everybody participated; in the political process through the casting of votes; in the formulation of national policy through consultation and parliamentary debates; and in Botswana3 economic development through market access, new jobs and the acquisition of new skills. True: not everyone benefited equally. But EVERY MOTSWANA HAS BENEFITED IN SOME WAY OR HAS HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO, POLITICALLY, SOCIALLY, ECONOMICALLY. The BDP is proud of that achievement, very proud.  The BDP will not rest on its laurels. Some people have short memories. Almost two-thirds of our present population were born after Independence. Those under the age of thirty have no direct recollection of the poverty and deprivation which afflicted their parents’ generation. Half of the total population was born after we achieved budgetary self-sufficiency in 1972. They cannot be expected to vote for the BDP out of a sense of gratitude for having made it possible for them to go to school or to get a job. Those benefits are, understandably, taken for granted. Great and demonstrable as its past accomplishments have been, the BDP does not look back: it looks forward to the future. What does it offer in the years ahead?  To answer that question, let me describe briefly the challenge that Botswana faces over the next five years. Botswana may have more diamond deposits which may one day be developed, but it is already the third largest diamond producer in the world. Other countries, including Namibia, Angola, Russia and Australia, also have large diamond reserves. Without sustained increases in the global demand for diamonds, producing countries must exercise self-restraint in expanding production. Over-supply can only reduce prices, to the detriment of all. We in Botswana must accept that our production of diamonds has, for the time being, nearly peaked. No longer can we look to production increase to deliver more revenues to Government for recycling – through development projects and social welfare programmes – into broader-based development. We must accept that, much as we may emphasize rural development, agriculture, both livestock and arable, cannot continue, to sustain the present income levels experienced by the majority of Batswana who live in rural areas. This is all the more so if Botswana’s population growth rate remains effectively the second highest in the world. We must face the new economic realities, namely, that continued economic growth and job creation depend on rapid diversification of the economy and new investment in the manufacturing and service sectors. We must accept that, as in the past, we cannot do it by ourselves. Large as our budgetary and foreign exchange reserves are, we will need foreign investment, aid and technical assistance. Far as we have come in education and the acquisition of skills, we still need foreign expertise, managerial and technical skills and market contacts to broaden our economic base and to create business and employment for Batswana.  Times have changed. Botswana faces a challenge every bit as daunting as the task which the BDP Government confronted at Independence. The country has a choice. It can follow the advice of those parties who are only concerned with redistributing the benefits which the BDP Government has generated from its highly successful past development policies and sound national economic management. Those parties will call for spending our carefully accumulated surpluses on wage increases and all kinds of subsidies. They will probably advocate the nationalization of privately-owned farms and industries, and the enlargement of the public sector. That will be an attractive package to those voters whose sole concern is to achieve a once-and-for-all, short-term personal advantage, or to those who are not concerned about the future or about the ordinary Motswana. Make no mistake. Such policies might be attractive to some, but they would almost certainly exhaust Botswana’s reserves. They would ultimately require the imposition of higher taxes on all, including the cattle farmers, the public servants and on those to whom the benefit would accrue in the short term. Similar strategies have been pursued by many developing countries, some of which, like Botswana, experienced mineral-led bonanzas. This approach led to economic stagnation, falling income levels, shortages of essential goods, rampant price inflation and, ultimately, a new form of colonialism, namely, dictatorship by the state. The other choice is to accept that diamonds, important as they will continue to be in Botswana’s economy, will no longer be the engine of growth. We must recognize that new investment is needed in other sectors to create new jobs. We must acknowledge that the Government cannot achieve economic growth by itself particularly after the accumulated financial surpluses have been drawn to complete existing projects and to maintain departmental programmes. Therefore, the private sector must be encouraged to expand. To avoid higher taxes, new revenues must be generated by enlarging the country’s economic base. It is important that Batswana should participate at all levels in the private sector. The BDP Government will continue to devise ways and means of enabling Batswana to gain access to financial assistance. In addition, Batswana will be encouraged and assisted to develop skills to enable them to run new investments and enterprises on their own. Whilst accumulated domestic funds will carry us some way, Batswana generally have insufficient capital to develop new factories, new mines, new banks and new hotels – and we still lack many of the managerial, technical and commercial skills on which sustained economic growth and diversification depend. So we need to open up the economy. We need to attract new foreign investors by offering them a fair deal, security and political stability. We need to remove those regulations or restrictions which hamper entrepreneurship, hinder efficiency or reduce job creation. We need to look outward, to sell our new products in the markets of the world, just as we have sold our diamonds, bee5 copper and nickel abroad in the past. Our domestic market is still too small to support many viable import substituting industries. Above all, we need to increase the national economic cake, and not be content with slicing the existing cake in a different way. We need to increase the national economic cake. This is the option which the BDP supports.  The next five years will be a difficult time. We have, as a nation, become accustomed to growth, to ever – improving opportunities for employment, better education, higher salaries. As diamond-led growth slows, adjustments will have to be made. Government agencies will have to make do with smaller budgets. The public sector as a whole will have to become more cost effective, more service-oriented-assisting the private sector rather than regulating it and slowing it down. Vigilance must be maintained, in both economic and security sphere, but not at the cost of development and social progress. We will have to work harder, to become productive and more competitive.  More than ever before, care must be taken in spending public resources. Batswana did not survive the long droughts and prolonged hostilities which have beset them throughout their history as a nation by slaughtering all their cattle and consuming their entire harvests in years of plenty. They have always built up their herds and saved part of their crops to protect them against future misfortunes, or to carry them through periods of uncertainty. It was within that tradition that the BDP Government deliberately put aside part of the diamond bonanza and, ignoring the angry protests of the opposition parties who wished to consume it all during the good times, built up budgetary and foreign exchange reserves. It did so precisely in order that the transition to economic diversification and slower growth could be accomplished smoothly and without a sudden shock to the nation. BUT WHY VOTE FOR THE BDP? Let me give you five good reasons:
Firstly: Among Botswana’s political parties, the BDP alone has the necessary capabilities to lead the country through the period of adjustment to a new era of rapid growth and prosperity;
Secondly: It has long experience in organizing, motivating and running a national political party which has, since its inception in 1962, succeeded in keeping in touch with the people and serving them;
Thirdly: It has acquired enormous experience in running a national government.
Many of its Ministers have served successfully for many years, in several ministries. They have learned, first-hand, how to convert Manifesto promises into Government policies, how to reflect Government policies in national development plans, and how to translate national development plans into meaningful programmes and action. Think of the advances which Botswana has made in education and health. Think of Financial Assistance Programme. Think of Arable Land Development Programme (ALDEP)), Accelerated Rain Fed Arable Programme (AMP), for example; Fourthly: The BDP leaders have the network of contacts, and command sufficient respect around the world to ensure that Botswana’s sovereignty and independence will not be challenged, and that the requisite flow of resources-public, private, personal-will be available to support Botswana’s continued growth; Fifthly: Only the BDP remains totally committed to the fundamental principles on which the party and the nation were founded. Only under a BDP Government can Batswana be confident that democracy will survive; freedom and justice will endure; that development will occur; that unity will prevail; that our sovereignty will be respected; and that individuals will enjoy the rewards of their own efforts and enterprise. This Manifesto spells out the BDP’s policies and goals clearly, without offering unrealistic promises or repeating tired slogans. When I opened Parliament in November last year, I said, ‘Voting is an expression of freewill of the people in making a choice of Government.’ Before you exercise your right to vote, before you choose which party you would like to form the next government, please consider carefully what the BDP offers to you and note what it does not pretend it could do for you.




Entry filed under: Botswana, Manifesto, Southern Africa. Tags: , , , , .

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This blog is about countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regarding societies, political parties and policies. Most interest will be spent on the countries: Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

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