BNF 1994 Manifesto Botswana
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BOTSWANA NATIONAL FRONT (from the Original document)
MANIFESTO FOR THE GENERAL ELECTIONS 1994
FOREWORD TO THE 1994
BOTSWANA NATIONAL FRONT MANIFESTO
by BNF President, Dr. Kenneth Koma
The 1994 Election is the seventh in Botswana since the first in 1965.
This election represents several years of experience for us as a nation and in the Botswana National Front (BNF). The election also signals the end of an era. This is an election that takes us as a nation, through the last five years of the 1990s decade which in fact, also marks the end of the 20th century. Since the mid-1960s Botswana has seen three decades of uninterrupted one party dominant rule of the Botswana Democratic Party. It is up to us as a nation to judge the achievements and failures of the present government but I wish to point out the following simply to help you take stock of things and make your decision on who to vote for, in a proper perspective. Three decades of post-colonialism in Africa have been turbulent and generally disastrous in terms of development, human rights, institutional development, economic growth and environmental protection. The resultant situation is growth in poverty, unemployment, the collapse of the agricultural sector, constant military intervention, ethnic strifes, growth in refugee populations and above all political bankruptcy and corruption of unparallel magnitude. The BDP government enjoying national and international goodwill, the cooperation of the opposition parties, international aid and unparalled economic I growth resultant from the richest diamonds pipeline in Africa, has been able to lay down the basic social and physical infrastructure in terms of roads, schools, clinics, water supply and telecommunications. I believe as a nation we all know and appreciate this. We would however, wish to point out that laying down infrastructure is, the world over, the very basic and simplest form of development. Many countries in the world including much poorer ones in Africa have managed to built schools, health facilities, universities, telecommunications and provided water and housing for much larger populations. One has only to mention Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Lesotho, Swaziland and even Namibia to show how these comparatively poorer nations have performed in the area of infrastructural development over the past three decades of independence. Today, in Botswana we have large numbers of doctors, university teachers, accountants, engineers, architects, quantity surveyors, etc., from Tanzania, Sudan, Ghana, and of course China. These countries are both relatively poorer and have to address problems 10 times, 20 times more than Botswana’s because of their enormous populations. In Botswana, how many citizen doctors, health inspectors, architects, engineers, etc., do we have after 30 years?
The Botswana Democratic Party has failed in three decades to take this country beyond infrastructural development hence:
1. Poverty remains deeply entrenched in our people’s daily existence. The number of households living under conditions of absolute poverty has increased from 45% in 1976 to 60% in 1989 (GOB / UNDP / UNICEF, 1993).
2. Unemployment has remained above 25% of the labour force since 1989. Among the youth unemployment ranges between 31 and 40%. For women it is estimate at 29% (CSO, 1992, UNICEF, 1993).
3. Agriculture has collapsed not largely because of drought but because of the lack of drought resistant policies and programmes. At present the government spent millions of Pula on drought relief in apparent attempt to help the people. But there is neither assurance to farmers, the unemployed, female headed households, the people in the most disadvantaged regions of the country that this assistant will continue or that government will come up with something better for the future.
4. Inflation remains very high and beyond control by government because of high economic dependence on imports of everything. Between 1989 and now the inflation rate ranged between 10% and 17.7% (CSO, 1993).
5. The rapid increase in corruption especially among people holding responsible positions resulting in the emulation of leaders by the ordinary people. Corruption, abuse of human rights and arrogance by BDP leadership have grown and many millions of Pula have been lost at BHC, NDB, BCB, BBS, BAMB and Government ministries and departments. While denying these the government has come up with the so-called “Economic Crime Act Corruption Law”. Why, since they deny that they are corrupt?
6. Remember that consultation has become a mockery under the BDP rule. Laws are prepared and passed in a rush without consultation with even their own backbenchers. Remember the following as examples: Incomes Policy (1990), Agricultural Policy (1991), Wildlife Policy (1993), Tribal Land Act Amendment (1993), Abortion Act (1993), Corruption Act (1994) and the Kanye situation where the chief was replaced with his son without first consulting the tribe.
7. This is the government which has taken benefits of over 50000 workers, dismissed them and reemployed some under condition that they leave trade unions and become permanent and pension able.
8. This is the government which refuses with impunity to sign international declarations on workers, children and women.
9. The ever widening gap between the rich and the poor so that the poor became poorer and the rich became richer. Thus dividing that nation into the haves and the have-nots, those who have and those who have not. Thus laying the foundation for permanent economic and political instability.
10. The rapid increased in juvenile delinquency with the effect that when a delinquent nation. Thus giving rise to vicious circle which threaten to engulf the whole nation.
11. The acute shortage of houses and the short-sighted view of the government of Botswana Democratic Party which considers the housing of the nation as a commodity to be enjoyed by the well to do who have the financial power to buy and sell.
12. The failure of the BDP government to computerise with the result that information and data required for planning the future, the collecting and compiling of data and information necessary for planning for the future is always available some two years behind with the consequence that there is no planning in the real sense. So that what is glorified as planning is no more than attempts to solve problems which require a scientific method approach by trial and error method.
13. The BDP has systematically cheated and ridged the elections all the time to the extend that the ruling BDP is habituated to undemocratic and illegal assumption of power and is consequently in-sensitive to the democratic demands of the people. This same government wants to be returned to power. They offer no new ideas about creating a truly democratic nation, creation of more jobs, providing markets for our hardworking entrepreneurs and better assistance to the needy and disabled.
The BNF has in the Manifesto a clear strategy to:
(a) Create more jobs
(b) Provide social welfare for the most needy
(c) Increased economic growth through diversification
(d) Promote small and medium level entrepreneurs and through regional
connection provide them markets;
(e) Train Batswana quickly and in a multiplicity of empowering skills;
(f) Create a truly democratic and free society of equals regardless of ethnicity, language, religion and race.
You have yet another chance as a voter to make Botswana of the 21st century a happy place to live in. The present trend contains a time bomb and social strife that as a small and young nation we cannot afford.
VOTE BNF! Vote for a better future.