The Alliance for Progressives (AP) on Saturday kick-started campaign for its maiden elections with a Presidential and Manifesto launch in Gaborone.
The party announced that it would be contesting 44 constituencies and 326 council seats.
AP vice president, Wynter Mmolotsi expressed hope that the party would be in power after the October 2019 polls. Still at the event, party president, Ndaba Gaolathe administered oath of allegiance to Mmolotsi and all other parliamentary and council candidates. Union leaders and other opposition parties were invited to the event. However, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leaders did not honour the invitation while Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), from which the AP split attended represented by its leader, Sidney Pilane.
Gaolathe said it was time for a change in the country. Similarly, he explained that Botswana’s previous leaders were visionaries who worked to improve the lives of the people. Additionally, the leaders abhorred corruption. That was evidenced by the fact that those who engaged in corrupt practices were made to account for their actions, he added.
Regarding the powers of the President, Gaolathe pointed out that Botswana has always been a constitutional dictatorship.
Such was the case in the sense that though the President has a lot of powers, the country’s past leaders did not abuse their powers. For instance, they did not oppress the people nor loot the economy.
On the state of the economy, he said Botswana has a lot of opportunities that people need to take advantage of. These are in areas such as agriculture given that the country has good soils though as a nation “we do not produce much”.
Gaolathe said Batswana are suffering, as large numbers do not have accommodation. He said the country is lagging behind in developing the manufacturing sector. If the sector is well developed, it could create jobs for Batswana and even lead to importing extra labour, he said.
Pertaining to gender balance, he said women are not well represented in positions of power. “We have few women in high positions in institutions such as Parliament and other key entities. There is no country that can develop without using quality thoughts of all sectors of the community. We need to have women help move the country forward,” he said.
Gaolathe said though Batswana need land for residence as well as farming, the government is failing to assist them. He said therefore government should come up with policies that would promote land ownership as a business enterprise so that people can benefit from their land.
Gaolathe added that the country is no longer safe as criminals terrorise people while corruption is crippling the economy. “We believe the country has in the past 10 years lost over P30 billion due to corruption, unfinished projects and other mismanagement of funds.”
The Gaborone Bonnington South legislator said the other problem was that people do not believe they can all play a role and make Botswana a better place. He said it was important that Batswana take action and vote into office people who are capable to do the job.