Big budgets won’t change voting minds

The unemployment rate is regarded as one of the reasons which keep young people from the registration and polling stations PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The unemployment rate is regarded as one of the reasons which keep young people from the registration and polling stations PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

With Botswana’s high unemployment rate especially amongst the youth, the latter has revealed that government’s proposed budget of P102 billion for the 2024-25 financial year won’t push them to the polls but only jobs will. Finance Minister, Peggy Serame on Monday, presented a healthy budget to Parliament but those interviewed but Mmegi say it will not sway their attitudes towards registering to vote.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) this week revealed that it has registered 747,601 eligible voters in the first phase of voters’ registration, which is a decline of 11, 177 voters compared to the same time in 2019. The unemployment rate is currently at 25.9% and it is regarded as one of the reasons which keep young people from the registration and polling stations. Serame proposed an expansionary budget indicating that it will, “create opportunities for all to play a meaningful role and contribute to economic transformation”. This year’s government spending had grown to P102 billion from last year’s P88.8 billion. After the minister announced the big budget, Mmegi visited different wards in Ramotswa where a myriad of problems were raised. The issues ranged from unemployment, high cost of living and less development in the areas amongst others.

Kenewang Gababolelwe (32) said; “I have a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities, but I can’t find a job. It’s hard to get a job unless you know someone. So why should I even bother voting, when I’m struggling to make ends meet?” She said just because the government presents a big budget, it does not mean it will culminate into job creation. Gababolelwe also feels that politicians are only trying to entice voters with promises during election season, rather than actually making good on those promises. For his part, Martin Sewagodimo said it is time for government to create employment if it wants them to take part in electoral process. “Voting is a way for citizens to petition the government and hold them accountable. Once the elections are over, politicians do not care about people, hence the affected youth do not want to take part in registering for elections or voting. Whether we vote or not, our lives will not change. The cost of living is high and the time I will be taking to queue to vote, is very important to me as I need it to do a piece job that could change my life,” Sewagodimo said.

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