Following his recent retreats with the Cabinet and other leaders of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to reassess progress in achieving national economic development goals, President Mokgweetsi Masisi came at civil servants with guns ablaze.
Addressing the nation within the scope of the ongoing pandemic and the way forward
on Saturday night, Masisi said they have to look with deeper scrutiny at the key tool of governance and delivery, the public service and recognise the depth of degradation therein, for therein lie answers to implementation failures that seemed to have become a norm in the post-1990s period of existence as a sovereign state.
“We have to measure our own labours as an elected leadership, to enact laws that empower and provide a roadmap of delivery to the anxious electorate.
When we do that, when we reflect, we discover that there is a direct correlation between the quality of the public service texture of the high economic growth rates of post-independence to the 1990s and the degradation of the public service of the post-1990s with the much lower growth rates of the economy in the last 30 years,” he said.
Masisi further said: “We find evidence of political leadership that for the last 30 years, has increasingly fallen into the clutches of an underperforming public service that has grown more robust in obstruction than in productivity.
We find an evolving culture of a democratically elected but increasingly pliable political leadership of the last three decades, held to ransom by groups of abrasive technocrats in low-productivity mode, albeit with rising incidences of corruption”.
Masisi said it is in their introspection that they find entrenched interests causing economic
He said while there have been some notably positive outcomes, a litany of unfinished or poorly executed projects fills the development roadmaps of the last 30 years like leaky sackfuls of dirt on a neglected road. Masisi said the mindset of Batswana has been pulverised by such negativity that a cancerous inferiority complex thwarts the ambitions of young and old.
He said the nation excluded itself from its own development.
“As we add a positive stride to the pandemic containment, and review ourselves in the new normal, we see the steep but traversable road to economic and national recovery; yet we must recognise, it is not only about the problems of COVID-19 but a catalogue of long-standing flaws; mistakes of our own making as a nation, particularly in the last 30 years that have impeded us from graduating from the middle-income trap to high-income status,” he said.
The BDP leader added Batswana slept on the job and now the nation needs the courage of introspection and the boldness to directly address the shortcomings in national development.
“Clearly, the wheels have come off in our vehicle of national development, and we must urgently attend to it without shaming ourselves that we are responsible for our own problems, but believing in ourselves that we can solve our own problems,” he said.