Botswana rich, citizens poor

Nicholas Mokwena - BG reporter
Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Botswana rich, citizens poor

Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) council has resolved to stage a protest in solidarity with all Batswana affected by closure of BCL. The general council that was held in Mahalapye took this resolution following a presentation from Botswana Mine Workers Union. The Federation is concerned at the treatment the BCL employees and their families have suffered as a result of the decision to close the mine. BFTU Secretary General, Thusang Butale said they would be in solidarity with BCL employees.

He said logistics for the protest would be communicated in due course. “The Federation has noted that Botswana’s economy has been doing relatively well since independence and has even withstood and survived the 2008 economic shocks. Botswana has received accolades from the international community and financial institutions for its multi-party system, functioning democracy, good governance and its relative economic prosperity. However, the Federation notes with disappointment, that this much talked economic success story has not translated into prosperity for all,” he said.

Butale revealed that according to the most recent formal sector employment survey report, monthly average earnings for citizens were P6 038, whilst monthly average earnings for non-citizens stood at P18 265. He stated that the Botswana Multi-Topic Household Survey of 2015/16 reveals that Batswana continue to wallow in poverty, and social inequalities and unemployment, in spite of the country’s much talked about economic success story.

It is the view of the Federation that Botswana is a rich country of poor citizens, adding that “the Federation is therefore concerned about the state of poverty in the midst of plenty that is found in Botswana today.” Butale said they are also deeply alarmed by reports of corruption and poor governance that seem to have engulfed the country. “It is corruption and poor governance that are at the centre of Botswana current political crisis.

The Federation notes that in a functioning multi-party democracy, every general election presents an opportunity to all stakeholders to ask those seeking their votes to enter public office, what it is that they have for them. It must be remembered that public office holders being Members of Parliament and Local Government authorities are at the centre of the process of national governance and distribution of national resources.

“It is therefore important that trade unions take deliberate effort to ensure that the interests of workers will be addressed and are safeguarded by those who require their votes,” he explained. According to Butale in October 2018 the General Council of the Federation passed a resolution for the development of the workers manifesto that would be used to inform, guide and ideally influence political parties’ manifestos in the coming 2019 general election.

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