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Khama Delivers Last SONA Address

Khama Delivers SONA Speech

-          Fails to chronicle administration’s achievements

 

-          Opts not to mention ‘notorious’ 4 D’s

 

Critics have complained that President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian khama did not use his last address to Parliament before stepping down to chronicle his achievements and shortcoming before departing from public office.

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Taolo Lucas observed that despite coming to office with his signature 4 D’s he had failed to use his last address to explore the impact of this signature initiative.

“We are surprised that he came with 5 D’s and that he has not indicated what he has achieved. In all areas his performance has been unsatisfactory. He leaves a failure. He failed to transforms economy to create jobs,” said Lucas.

He said, “For many of the working poor he has not provided hope. His speech is not inspiring at all.”

According to estimates from Statistics Botswana in April 2017, the economy grew 4.3% in 2016. This would have been compounded by the negative effects of the BCL liquidation and contraction in the mining sector.

The import bill continues to be a burden with total imports for 2016 valued at P66.9Billion against P73.2billion in 2015. Despite this negative trend Khama did appear to suggest that the Economic Diversification Drive(EDD) had achieved some success with procurement of local manufacturers amounting to P13.93billion as of March 2017.

Khama also pointed out that during his tenure the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre(BITC) had attracted P10billion worth of foreign and domestic capital investment, resulting in the creation of 8,831 additional jobs.

Despite two periods of recession the Botswana Development Corporation(BDC) experienced growth with total investment assets increasing to P2billion from P1.2billion over the past decade.

Khama observed the economic stimulus programme(ESP) achievements included award of majority of projects to citizen contractors to cover maintenance and expansion of senior and junior secondary schools as well as backlog in provision of classrooms, teachers quarters and ablution blocks in 139 primary schools countrywide.

As at the end of March 2017, the total number of citizens employed under ESP stood at 20,287, which was 92%.

Khama also indicated that over the course of the last decade, the Ipelegang programme has provided temporary relief to vulnerable people through labour intensive public works providing short term employment for 60,000 people on a monthly basis. Khama appeared to suggest the reduction of crime was a signature achievement.

Khama indicated that the Global Competitiveness Report for 2016-17 violent and intrusive crime declined by 46% between 2008 and 2016 from 26,150 incidents to 14,224. This includes a two thirds reduction in burglary, thefts and robberies. There was also a 57% reduction in threats to kill and a 32% reduction in motor vehicle theft.

Gaborone Central Member of Parliament Phenyo Butale, said “My first reaction is that it is fitting that he sticks to constitution to step down from public office. Other African countries should learn to adhere to this practice. Otherwise the speech was a lost opportunity. He should have taken us back and described his achievements and priorities. He could also have suggested where he felt we could have done better.”

He said, “Khama came in with a lot of goodwill amid expectations he would strengthen our democracy. However during his tenure he ignored recommendations of JSC in appointment of Judges, he suspended senior judges until they apologized to him. He leaves behind a weaker parliament after packing cabinet with MP’s thereby weakening backbenchers. It was also not clear how many people had graduated from poverty.”

Butale revealed it was during Khama’s tenure in office that the word extra judicial killings entered the national conversation with the arbitrary gangster type killing of John Kalafatis.

Khama also sought to intimidate ruling party MP’s in the appointment of Vice President and the Speaker of the National Assembly by demanding a poll through the open show of hands.

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