Botswana: Economic Empowerment Priority

Shoshong — Parliamentary candidates in Shoshong constituency have presented economic empowerment as a primary issue that must be addressed given its potential to create employment and improvement of livelihoods.

The candidates presented their campaign agendas from their respective political parties in Shoshong on October 4, during the live Radio Botswana parliamentary debates. The representatives of different political parties for the Shoshong constituency include Mr Poloko Moganetsi of the Alliance for Progressives (AP), Mr Dikgang Makgalemele of the Botswana

Democratic Party (BDP) and Mr Aubrey Lesaso of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

In his deliberations, Mr Moganetsi said there was a need to accelerate the development agenda in the constituency.

He said it was unfortunate that Shoshong as an administrative centre of the constituency was lacking in terms of developments, thereby making it difficult for the community to access social amenities. He highlighted among others inadequate supply of potable water and poor road infrastructure.

Mr Moganetsi had also presented the constituency as a potential hub for tourism. He said the area was favoured by its beautiful landscape while the historical archives should be fully utilised to improve the livelihoods of communities.

He said indigenous knowledge and natural resources must also be used to empower communities. He said the fertile soils in the constituency had the prospect of growing and diversifying the agriculture sector and ultimately creating employment opportunities.

The AP representative highlighted the need to breed more cattle to ensure an adequate supply of beef. He said it would also ultimately ensure an efficient supply of hides to the leather park Lobatse. Mr Moganetsi also indicated that dividing the Central District into three districts would improve service delivery in the constituency. He said it was unfortunate that some delays leading to poor service delivery and impacting negatively on the people's lives were a result of bureaucratic processes in the district as Serowe was overwhelmed with serving seven sub-districts.

Mr Makgalemele said his focus would be on infrastructural development as well as human development. He said the BDP development agenda was spearheaded by consultation with concerned parties, primarily being the community.

Mr Makgalemele indicated that Shoshong was a potential hub of solar energy. He said in an effort to turn this into reality, 70 members of the community were offered an opportunity to attend short courses to engage in solar energy projects. Mr Makgalemele said the training offered to the community in solar energy production would place Shoshong at the forefront in making the proposed electronic vehicle possible.

Mr Makgalemele said one of the proposed solar projects in the constituency was a solar power plant at Tobela which he said would empower the community by creating employment opportunities.

On infrastructure development, Mr Makgalemele said the BDP government has improved the situation at schools by increasing the number of classrooms and teachers quarters. He said the BDP was determined to improve road networks in the constituency and tarring of the Otse/Dibete road and Mosolotshane/Moralane road.

He said efforts were also made to make internal roads accessible by using interlocking bricks to pave them.

On health services, Mr Makgalemele said a 70 bed hospital with an estimated cost of P120 million has been proposed for Shoshong.

Mr Lesaso of the UDC stressed the need to empower the youth and women through education, saying it was tied to employment creation and improved welfare of the people.

He said focus would also be on ensuring that the school environment was ideal for a 21st-century learner.

Mr Lesaso said health services were also a serious concern in the constituency which he would address.

Mr Lesaso was equally concerned by the shortage of potable water in the constituency, poor roads infrastructure and shortage of offices for public officers.

He said if given a chance, he would resuscitate the Shoshong study group and Shoshong development trust, which he said had the potential to add value to the livelihoods of the community and the economy.

He said agriculture had the potential to improve livelihoods in the constituency. He said with a population of over 140 000 cattle in the constituency, agriculture had the potential to create employment opportunities.

He also called for an improved cattle generics so that farmers could get better returns on their animals

He said since Shoshong was located on a flood plain, a stormwater drainage system in the village was necessary. He said agriculture, manufacturing, mining and construction industries were vital in resuscitating the economy of the country and that of Shoshong constituency. He said establishing such industries would address 90 per cent of the challenges in the constituency.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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