Amanda Watson
News Editor
2 minute read
5 Aug 2019
6:45 am

Botswana is ‘tired of empty promises’

Amanda Watson

Some Batswana say opposition parties are bringing their A-game but they are all tearing each other down instead of supporting each other.

Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi. AFP/File/TIMOTHY A. CLARY

While thousands of Batswana celebrated 135 years of the existence of their national police on Saturday, people in the street were more circumspect ahead of the elections.

Political infighting among parties has raised more than eyebrows among the generally peace-loving population, with elections normally a muted affair.

“This year is different,” Kutlwano Seile told The Citizen.

“Opposition parties are bringing their A-game but they are all tearing each other down instead of supporting each other.”

Seilo, who is employed at a local market, is determined to have her own stand next year, selling goods aimed at tourists.

But tourism, according to trader Thabang Matlhaku, has taken a dive in recent months.

“I’m not excited about these elections, our leaders are fighting and tourism is down,” Matlhaku said.

“Everyone wants to eat alone.”

But Seilo was excited about the elections.

“The arguments being made by the parties are not convincing, especially the ruling party,” Seilo said.

For Matlhaku, there was too much noise around the political spectrum.

“It was better before, the smaller parties are causing trouble for us.”

“Before” according to was in the 1980s-90s.

The 2000s, however, had seen “significant” stagnation.

According to, Botswana’s unemployment rate increased to 17.94% in December 2018, from the previously reported number of 17.63% in December 2017.

“In the latest reports, Botswana’s population reached 2.29 million people in December 2017,” stated.

“Monthly earnings of Botswana stood at $601.19 about (R8 889 ) in September 2018.

The country’s labour force participation rate increased to 72.29% in December 2018.”

President Mokgweetsi Masisi noted in his inauguration speech that unemployment, poverty, crime, HIV and Aids, alcohol and drug abuse were “challenges”.

“Therefore, one of my top priorities as the president of this country will be to address the problem of unemployment especially amongst the young people who constitute the majority of our population,” Masisi said.

“The young people, who make 60% of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future.”

Seilo said each election people were promised the same things but nothing ever changed.

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