The young people who gathered at Parliament to demand jobs, or to put it in accurate context; to demand creation of jobs this past week are a manifestation of a society in motion towards demanding that which belongs to it. Those brave and fearless young people have identified that which lacks in most sectors of the society, the knowledge and understanding, and indeed the ultimate reality that it is Parliament that is making laws and should be the pinnacle of democracy in protecting the same laws. Laws are not necessarily political, they are equally economic, which will include the issues of employment and unemployment, they are religious, social and any other forms and tenets of our societal being.
The society has a tendency of airing their grievances to wrong targets. Some people refer to this as barking the wrong tree. The only place where we find Government in totality is the Parliament. In Parliament we find both the useful and useless Members of Parliament, the aware and the totally lost Cabinet Ministers, the Attorney General (direct or by delegation), the occupied or unoccupied seat of the President, the Vice President who is also the Chairperson of the ruling party; and possibly the Incoming President, Leader of the Opposition and just next door is the House of Chiefs. This is the place where grievances, concerns, demonstrations, national campaigns are better placed to be presented. The issue of lawful or unlawful gathering is of another. One can only hope that lessons were learnt by both sides; the Police and the protesters.
The reaction of some Members of Parliament to this cause has naturally so stirred a hornet’s nest once more. This has however proved important to in helping to look beyond the village popularity mental positions when dishing out the vote. One Member of Parliament, in particular Prince Maele, is quoted as having remarked that Parliament does not hire. That I must point out is the most stupid statement to have come out of this campaign. The Youth have opted to go to Parliament because they could not use their political parties to air their grievances, for they come from all political parties. Some are even not even sympathisers nor members of any political grouping in Botswana. Unemployment, is a national problem. If there is one thing that unites this nation, the young people in particular, in what is termed; unity in diversity, is the exorbitant level of unemployment. Some have alluded this to not only being unemployment but rather unemployment of the employable. Though this might be a debate for another day, it is a point of particular importance as it brings to light certain elements of a society in motion towards demanding what is rightfully theirs.
The illiterate, the school drop outs and the not academically gifted are not necessarily a part of the unemployment movement that succumbed to the physical and brutal encounter with the police. The larger part of the complainants are graduates who are unable to enter the job market. Though programmes continue to be rolled out, none of those seem to be hell bent on creation of employment. This has instigated a social call to the government. The peaceful demonstration where a petition, instead of being received was rejected and its signature bearers brutally assaulted in what is perceived to be a constitutional manner has however ensured that the discussion on the high rate of unemployment be treated with the outmost importance it deserves. Whether they like it or not, those who are supposed to act will certainly be having sleepless nights to remedy this abnormality.
But whilst the abnormality is being planned to be remedied, we need as a nation, as early as now, scrutinise those who are for national development and those who are for arrogance. Prince Maele has caught my attention as being for arrogance. We need less of that, if any. We need men and women who know that they have to come up with solutions to our problems. That is our Parliament and it shall remain thus forevermore. That we have in the past rented it out to those seeking to affirm their presence and self-esteem through arrogance has been halted by young people on the 08th of August 2016. This might not be the Arab Spring, and it might not be the June 16 uprising of South Africa during the apartheid era. But it is our uprising, by our very young people, far from the political spectrum of narrating the need for a vote to their political grouping.
But the youth must not end here, they must go beyond those who are making it difficult for them to find jobs. And Prince Maele is one of them. The young people of Lerala–Maunatlala Constituency who voted Prince Maele to Parliament must think again. Is this what they had envisaged? Or perhaps, are they themselves employed and not affected by the high rate of unemployment? It is not only them, the elders of that constituency must stand with their young ones who Prince Maele has simply brushed aside. What has Prince Maele said about unemployment except that Parliament does not hire? Who does not know that Parliament does not hire? Prince Maele was and is talking exactly as a man enjoying the comfort of a ministerial chair and benefits.
As I write this, Parliament is yet discussing a bill to adjust their salaries. As I write this down, there is the issue of 3% salary increment for civil servants, those already employed. But also as I write this, there is nothing on the table to address the high level of unemployment. The young people, lost patience, rightfully so and walked to parliament to put such a matter on the table since Members of Parliament themselves have not been able to. But what did they get? They got brutal assaults from the Botswana Police Service and brutal attacks in harsh words from the likes of Prince Maele. Surely he is a man we do not need in Parliament.
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