There is no doubt that Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) play various vital roles that complement government’s efforts of developing the country.
We are glad that the government treats NGOs as partners in development of the country and not as opponents. And the local non-profit corporations are not treated as opposition parties masquerading as NGOs.
We are not too harsh to say that local NGOs are arguably not vocal enough and hardly perform their mandate to the public’s expectations. For instance, recently the police commissioner told the Public Accounts Committee that they register so many rape cases per day, only keyboard warriors were outraged and the NGOs’ silence was deafening.
Where is #IShallNotForget movement that was too vocal few years ago when it was alleged that a Sebina councillor was involved in an illicit affair with a secondary school student which ended up with the student falling pregnant?
Where was Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) when the ruling party Members of Parliament rejected a motion tabled by opposition legislator requesting ‘Parliament resolve to urge President to set up a Commission of Inquiry on Gender Based Violence, rape and other sexual offences as a matter of urgency?’
Where is BOCONGO today when the nation is besieged by Gender Based Violence (GBV) on a daily basis?
Where is Emang Basadi? Where is Ditshwanelo –
Remember GBV also affects ministers, Members of Parliament and activists. It affects everyone. We had thought that the NGOs will take to the streets so that they send a strong message home to the politicians that enough is enough! Alas, the fight was left for the keyboard warriors.
Were the NGOs afraid to voice their opposition to GBV and support the motion to set up a Commission of Inquiry on Gender Based Violence, rape and other sexual offences as a matter of urgency because they feared to poison their relationship with government? We know all the NGOs have different mandates, but GBV cut across all of them. We suspect that the reasons some NGOs may not be performing their mandate effectively is because they mostly depend on government for funding, which makes it difficult for them to criticise government on some issues of national importance.
NGOs should wake up from their slumber because they have a role to play in the fight against GBV.