Botswana's Current Situation Is A Culmination Of Years Of Poor Governance

Yesterday, a local newspaper reported on its front-page that the government was to abruptly stop tertiary students' allowances as it continues its expenses cuts initiatives.  Now of course as expected with newspaper headlines, there was a  bit of sensationalism in the headline. Reading on, it seems like the real facts are that the government is indeed intending on stopping living allowance for some students but only after embarking on what they are calling a "consultative process" to determine which students' parents/guardians can be able to pay for their children's allowances and who is not.

After listening to the budget speech presented by Minister Matsheka about a fortnight ago, these cost-cutting initiatives by the government should not come as a surprise to Batswana. Looking at the amount of taxes, levies, license fees, and cost-cutting measures being implemented, it would seem like much more is still to come as the government attempts to deal with years of its own incompetence and corruption which got the country in this position in the first place.

Some might argue that COVID-19 and not government incompetence is the reason there is such a vast budget deficit going into the financial year. To see how mostly invalid this argument is, we should go back to before COVID-19 even became a part of the equation. Before the pandemic obliterated the tourism industry and put brakes on the diamond industry, the country's two most important breadbaskets, economic diversification had long been touted by the government but even up to now, no meaningful and effective diversification initiatives had been implemented, leaving the country most vulnerable to the COVID-19 induced economic shocks.

Then there is the issue of years of corruption and looting which to this day still have to be accounted for either by the recovery of looted funds or at least the successful prosecution of the perpetrators. The irony is that not only has there been no successful prosecution of perpetrators but the same accused are now suing the government, lawsuits which will of course be paid out of taxpayers' pockets. So not only do taxpayers have to reel over their looted funds, they now have to pay for the incompetence of government prosecutors who failed to build up solid cases against the accused looters.

Circling back to the issue of tertiary education, we have to then address how the initial tertiary education policy is not only the reason for the country's crippling youth unemployment but also the reason for wasted resources which we so desperately need right now. The policy led to the culmination of fly-by-night schools that offered unaccredited and subpar courses all while receiving payment from the government by way of tuition for government-sponsored students. After graduation, these students found themselves unqualified for the workplace despite the government having spent millions to make them employable, and the schools, some of which had high ranking political and government figures as part of their ownership structures, were laughing all the way to the bank.

Right now, after the proverbial sh*t has hit the fan, the government is trying to undo and make up for over a decade of its own incompetence by taxing and levying citizens to their knees. Not only will this further stunt the much-needed recovery and growth of the private sector and severely affect the livelihoods of citizens but it will also just lead to the widening of the already terrible inequality gap which persists in the country as the politicians and their cronies will be the ones benefitting most from the ballooning government treasuries.

From a not-so-promising vaccine rollout, businesses closing down and increasing unemployment, a healthcare system unprepared to deal with COVID-19, and a vast budget deficit to name a few, to say Botswana has problems will be a major understatement. But problems are much less a concern when you have a competent and consultative leadership at the helm, a sentiment that cannot be stated about the current administration.

As citizens, the sooner we realize we are on our own and start trying to make our own way without trusting the government to suddenly be noble and look out for our interests, the better. The fact that some members of the current administration have the means to purchase ranches and the lot in the middle of a pandemic that is destroying the very livelihoods of most citizens should show us how detached from our reality they are.

Seeing that the only people we can rely on are ourselves, let us support each other going forward. Let's start our own enterprises, regardless of how small and seemingly trivial. Let's support local businesses and entrepreneurs especially SMMEs. Let us help the underprivileged who are unfortunately unable to help themselves. For small businesses, let us try to be as professional as possible in our operations because #SupportLocal should not mean blindly supporting mediocrity.

In 2024 when the campaign trail gets underway again, there is going to be a lot of fingers pointed at COVID-19 as the reason for the mediocre governance we are experiencing now and for the foreseeable future. As the loudmouths will be doing the scapegoating, let us not forget that the reason we are in this situation in the first place is because of the very same people, and as we proceed to vote, we should remember this quote; "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."


  1. This poor governance thing just seeps and seeps into everything. the dtef issue for example - if we were serious about our IT; we'd have trust worthy records - that way at least those ably employed could pay back loans through some form of well designed system. yaanong ka motlakase wa pala after 60 yrs what more about IT ?

    also this thing of just benchmarking and implementing policies but not evaluating them - if we did even the tiniest bit of evaluation - readjusting - we would have scrapped some of the money wasters a long time ago. things are always put in place but we don't know gore di helela kae and what good came out of them - i suppose could be another way of looting public funds.

    but honestly corruption is catching up with us... but alas #kukaparty


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