Francistown — The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leaders have argued that its manifesto has been crafted to indicate that it will govern better and for the benefit of the majority of Batswana.
UDC vice president, Mr Dumelang Saleshando said on August 18 during the launch of the party's prospective parliamentary candidate for Francistown East, Mr Morgan Moseki that the party endeavoured to grow the economy by empowering those at the bottom of the economic stratum as a way of boosting their buying power.
A team of prospective councilors was also launched.
Improving the wages of the low earners, Mr Saleshando noted, improved demand for goods and services, in the process allowing small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) to expand their operations and creating more job opportunities for the economy.
It is in this spirit, the UDC vice president highlighted, that their manifesto proposed a P3 000 living wage for the formal sector.
This strategy, contrary to what critics say, he added, worked in other developing economies such as Mauritius where it had been implemented to boost the textile industry.
Mr Saleshando explained that Mauritius increased the salaries of textile workers by one 100 per cent and this did not lead to an economic collapse.
"In fact, the economy in that country is performing much better now than before," he argued. The UDC manifesto's economic blueprint, Mr Saleshando further highlighted, was predicated on this philosophy as a way of improving the social and economic livelihoods of Batswana.
He also informed voters in the Francistown East constituency to differentiate the UDC manifesto from that of other opposition parties and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.
The BDP economic ideology for the last 53 years, he said, was based on the belief that economic growth can be achieved through providing money for the rich and businesses, reducing taxes for these groups and entities, with the hope that there would be a trickle-down effect to those at the lower end of the food chain.
UDC vice president, however, highlighted that it had failed to transform the lives of Batswana who find themselves wallowing in poverty and other economic challenges such as poor wages and lack of land on which to build homes.
Mr Saleshando pleaded with voters to come out in large numbers and vote for Mr Moseki whom he said had proven to be a principled and committed politician despite standing and losing every parliamentary election he contested since the 2003 bye-election in the constituency.
He described Moseki as a battle-hardened politician with experience in representing people given his background as a human rights lawyer and noted that his previous losses might have been a blessing as he now stood a chance to become a ruling party legislator after the 2019 general elections.
Former Botswana Congress Party women's wing president, Ms Daisy Bathusi said an idea whose time had come cannot be stopped, noting that Batswana wanted change and UDC was ready to deliver that.
She highlighted that the UDC government would correct the current situation where over 80 per cent of the private sector is foreign-controlled.
She said there was a need for laws that protect local investors who are currently disadvantaged economically.
"Once we attain power, we will ensure that foreign investors partner with locals in all the sectors of the economy. In Francistown local businesses have collapsed due to failure to pay taxes in an unfavourable business environment," she asserted.
Foreign direct investment, she argued can only work if it goes hand in hand with citizen economic empowerment.
Mr Moseki promised that if voted into office, he would be vocal and focus on the re-opening of the Tati Nickel mine to boost the city's economy.
The UDC candidate will battle it out with current member of parliament, Mr Buti Billy of the BDP and Theresa Mmolawa of Alliance for Progressives.
Source : BOPA