Bazezuru living in Francistown are completely ignorant about the much hyped Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) which is intended to empower citizens, Botswana Guardian investigation has shown.
One of the Bazezuru elders and church leader, Raphael Panganayi did not hide his disappointment as he explained that most of his tribesmen have been left out in the looming gravy train.
“I am an elder of the Bazezuru tribe in the church and no one has ever informed us about this good project and I don’t know why they decided not to inform us as government has always pre-warned us in the event of any looming government programmes. Although most of us are uneducated, government officials have always worked hand in hand with us without any discrimination and I wonder why they have decided to close us out of the so -called ESP,” he charged.
“When they introduced various poverty eradication schemes, we were involved as government officials approached us during church services to break the good news hence our participation,” he explained. Panganayi, who seemed perplexed at the news, vowed to leave no stone unturned in his search for answers saying he would invite area councillor and Member of Parliament (MP) to come to their main church to lecture them on the ESP and other important issues of national interest.
“Civic leaders know that most of us are not educated that’s why they have always been there for us. Even during the past vaccination processes, we cooperated fully with them to have our children vaccinated even though it was against our culture and religion,” he said.
A majority of Bazezuru tribesmen are very good at construction, carpentry, welding and sewing, according to the elder, but their only undoing is lack of education. “I believe that with the right lectures many of our tribesmen can benefit from this programme which sounds brilliant,” he explained.
Another member of the Bazezuru tribe 34-year old Farai Tseriwa, a reputable tin smith and carpenter based in Area W was also in the dark about ESP as he said that no one has ever briefed them about the looming programme.
“Whenever the government intends to introduce any programme benefiting all citizens, they normally send a government representative to our main church so that all Bazezuru can be informed with due respect. According to our religion, our church elders are always at the forefront by informing us of important national issues. Even during elections, various leaders on campaign including MPs and councillors always visit us and sell themselves to us in order for them to be voted but I am in the dark as to why they decided to remain mum about this ESP,” he wondered.
He said that although most of them work from their homes there is nothing wrong for them to be taught how to register companies so that they can also benefit from the programme. Dorica Matsika, who specialises in sewing, metal works and is a tin smith, welcomed the new development even though she also pointed out that she was in the dark about ESP.
“This sounds like a very good project which will benefit a lot of citizens, but the only problem is that Bazezuru have been left out. I wish the government could lecture us more on this ESP you are talking about,” she said.
Francistown East legislator Buti Billy was quoted last week during one of his kgotla meetings complaining that a majority of the Bazezuru will not benefit from ESP due to the fact that they are mostly uneducated and left out by government officials.
When contacted by this publication on how he is going to go about in lecturing the concerned tribe on the ESP, he revealed that the only best way to have the attention of the elderly among the tribe is following them where they worship. Buti explained that if nothing is done to sensitise the tribe about the looming ESP, a majority of them will be left out since most of them are not educated enough to register companies.
“Moreover, these people are too religious and for one to win their hearts, one needs to understand what their culture requires. I have worked with them and they have always understood me clearly, hence my intention to follow them and lecture them on the ESP. They are our valuable citizens who have also contributed to the economy of this country as many of them are good welders, builders, carpenters and mechanics,” he said.