Botswana: Candidates Promise Solutions to Challenges

Gaborone — Like other urban places, Gaborone Bonnington South parliamentary constituency is faced with a myriad of challenges in areas such as housing, healthcare, education, and public works and these need innovative solutions, candidates representing different political parties have concurred.

These were views held during a debate held at the Mass Media Complex in Gaborone and broadcast live on Radio Botswana on Saturday night.

Candidates, Mr Ndaba Gaolathe of the Alliance of Progressives (AP), Mr Christian Greef of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Mr Ketlhalefile Motshegwa of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Mr Joper Osupile of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Mr Gaontebale Mokgosi of the Real Alternative Party (RAP), all promised to offer solution to such challenges.

Mr Gaolathe, who has represented the constituency over the past five years and seeking re-election, presented himself as an experienced leader with requisite skills having studied abroad and having extensively worked as a consultant to foreign governments and companies, and as such could assist the constituency if given a fresh mandate.

He said during his tenure as the area MP he had worked with the community to improve their living conditions, focusing on the eight areas of infrastructure, safety and security, sports, music and arts, the environment, education, entrepreneurship, as well as labour.

He said schools in the area needed to be developed and he had managed to assist with internet connectivity in some of them, but more needed to be done at governmental level to improve school infrastructure and reduce the classroom teacher-pupil ratio.

Mr Greef, on the other hand, said having lived in Gaborone West since 1985 and having schooled at Bophirima Primary School and Maikano Junior Secondary School in the constituency as well as Gaborone Secondary School, he was best placed to understand the needs of the area.

He said as the governing BDP entered the 2019 general elections, they were fortunate to be led by a leader of the caliber of President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, whom he described as a leader with a great vision for the country.

He said for most of the past three decades, the constituency had been under the opposition, which he said had failed to develop Gaborone Bonnington South, while the constituency also continued to be besieged by poor stormwater drainage systems, internal roads and street lights.

Mr Motshegwa described himself as a leftist politician who had extensive experience in representing the plight of workers and the marginalised.

He said he was part of a UDC collective that sought to address challenges of poverty and under-development through increasing economic growth by between six and eight per cent, creation of sustainable jobs as well as investment in education and healthcare.

Mr Motshegwa said they sought to create a responsible government that would invest in building the country's agricultural output to ensure food security and invest in road, railways and telecommunications infrastructure.

Mr Osupile said there were wards such as Bophirima whose internal roads were not tarred, and that led to dusty conditions along such roads permeating the residential areas, which he said was not good for the health of residents.

He said he would advocate for tarring of internal roads and for construction of a primary school at Phase 4, something he said had been promised as being in the development pipeline for close to 10 years.

Mr Osupile lamented the fact that the constituency had four English medium private schools but the majority of the people in the constituency were poor and cannot afford such schools, which meant they crowded at public schools.

Mr Mokgosi said the country was besieged with poverty despite Botswana being a country of abundant resources.

Mr Mokgosi said many industrial workers earned low wages, and in the constituency, many workers in the security, construction, textile and retail sectors earned small wages and struggled to pay rent.

If elected, he said he would use his time in parliament to advocate for a universal basic income instead of a minimum wage to ensure that every worker was remunerated enough to meet the basic cost of living.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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