Member of Parliament for Serowe West and the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) elder Tshekedi Khama says the money budgeted for the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) should have been channelled towards combating crime.
Responding to the recent budget speech presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Thapelo Matsheka, Khama said given that crime, drug abuse amongst other social ills are on the rise, the government should be speaking of hiring more police officers, having surveillance cameras that actually work in all neighbourhoods and streets.
“These would tackle part of unemployment and also drastically reduce crime. Speaking of crime, our women and children are now afraid to even walk the streets for fear that they would be raped and mugged. Drugs have found there way into schools, but this seems not to be a priority. A serious budget should reflect this societal problem and a plan to finance efforts against it,” he said.Khama added that police stations were in a state of disrepair adding that working conditions in most of local police stations were crammed let alone the services section.
He also stated that the budget did not include rape or abused persons even though domestic violence had risen to 27% since April 2018 after the alcohol levy was reduced.
Khama also pointed out that the government never talked about what crime costs the country further emphasising that was reflected in the budget that the police get which is inadequate.
He also stated that the police were destined to be the poor cousins of the Botswana Defence Force adding that the police were expected to fight crime every day.
Furthermore, Khama raised concern that opposition parties face intimidation and harassment of their members. He said the government looks away when its intelligence services arrest and harass their members and other opposition members without due cause and falsify evidence to implicate their own people in economic crimes that never happened and in the process tarnishing the image of the country abroad.
“It is the beginning of the end when two years on, this party and its leader takes responsibility for now but just plays victim. Where in the world has it been known that the life of the President is in danger and plotters are known only for the State to keep creating news headlines around that and not arrest the real culprits? These things all point out to a party and government in crisis,” he said.
“All these conspiracies are having a negative impact on our economy; no wonder we have a very small development budget with 70% going to ongoing projects. A significant chunk of what should be our development budget is probably reserved to pay lawsuits emanating from the uncontrollable bull in a china shop that is the DIS today.”
Khama also pointed out that the budget makes assumptions that unemployment will be dealt with. He said they expected that the allocation of the budget would reflect job creation initiatives and possibly figures as to how many jobs some of the key budget aspects would yield.
Moreover, he pointed out that poverty in the country was also a concern. He said they had also seen no major transformation in dealing with poverty. Khama pointed out that the budget should have spoken directly to elimination of abject poverty in Botswana pointing out that it did not; instead it talked about making a plan for the middle class and people in towns.
He asked the Minister whether the electric car that his government promised would deliver even more than the 100, 000 jobs the opposition proposed prior to 2019 general elections campaigns.
He also asked if government was going to set up a factory to make those cars or if it was inviting some investor to undertake the project. He further stated that they were aware that the government did not have a plan since it is conveniently quiet about that electric car saying it was the result of making promises it could not keep.