President Ian Khama will on Monday afternoon stand before the nation to deliver the State of the Nation Address and declare what the government has achieved in the last 12 months.
The President will be facing an anxious nation that has spent the last six months with the pain of dry taps due to water rationing and the constant breakdown of the North-South water carrier.
Anxiety will also be over how to resolve the water and power crises that have the potential to bring the country’s economy to its knees.
Already, there are indications that the economy has stalled and there is a link to the shortage of these two critical commodities.
The past State of the Nation speeches were not anxiously awaited as there was hope that things were going to improve, but that has proven to be a dream deferred, hence the Economic Stimulus Package announced recently at the Botswana Democratic Party special congress.
We hope that the President will find it critical to unpack this good initiative, explain how it is going to be implemented, how much is going to be spent, and assure the nation that this is a national project that is intended to benefit everyone irrespective of their political affiliation. This is very important as the public perception has been that the government has allowed corruption to wreak havoc in project allocation, and therefore, only a few individuals are going to benefit from ESP. Government should prove otherwise, by being transparent.
This initiative, if implemented well, has potential to ease the effects of unemployment, temporarily or in the long term, and can bring hope to many souls who have surrendered to hopelessness. It would also be inspiring to hear what the President intends to do to reform our immigration law, which has been abused to drive and keep out foreigners who have the potential to bring the much needed Foreign Direct Investment, and economic diversification.
At many forums in the past three or four years, immigration has dominated discussions, with majority of experts warning that our country is too small to lock out foreigners. Infact, others gave examples of successful nations that welcomed foreigners to their shores and engaged them in economic activities such as construction, farming, Information Technology, as well as education. In addition, the nations engaged the foreigners in the health sector, research and innovation, and natural resource manufacturing.
We urge the government to take seriously the comments from Members of Parliament, experts, and others who are going to respond to the address and use such comments to improve the lives of Batswana.
After all, no individual or government wants to leave behind a dented legacy when they leave office to give way for others.
“Fighting corruption is not just good governance. It’s self-defence.
- Joe Biden