Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) will in the upcoming meeting of parliament table a number of bills that are motivated by the party’s 2019 election manifesto, party Secretary General Mpho Balopi has said.
Since October elections the party has been subject of criticism from various quarters including political commentators that it has failed to walk its promise. Balopi has however told this publication this week that the party is initiating several reforms that speak to the party promises contained in the manifesto.
Key among its pledges was the land question, a topic which has been a subject of debate for years. BDP promised to address the land issue which has been a thorny issue for the indigenous people. In 2016, Parliament was informed by then Minister of Lands and Housing (now Ministry Lands Management, Housing and Sanitation) Prince Maele that there are 1.062,158 applicants on the waiting list as maintained and published by various Land Boards and the Department of Lands.
Maele said the applicants on these waiting lists will continue to be vetted for eligibility for allocation, to ensure compliance with the Land Policy provision on equity in distribution of land. The waiting list, predominately for residential land, mostly in urban and peripheral, date back to a period of more than 30 years.
“It has been a case for most of Batswana, and I am proud to say as a party we have decided that this meeting (July) of parliament we will also table land allocation bill to ease and reduce the list for benefit of our people,” Balopi said.
Presently, land policy and governance in Botswana are based on three types of land tenure systems: tribal land, which accounts for 71 percent of the total land area of Botswana; freehold, which comprises 3 percent; and state land, which accounts for 26 percent, BDP will in this meeting revise the land tenure laws.
Last week President Mokgweetsi Masisi launched the revised Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) guidelines as part of its commitment to citizen empowerment.
“We are bring these reforms as we have already done with CEDA because we want to improve the livelihoods of Batswana especially the youth and to ensure that the economy is sustainable.”
As part of its election pledges, Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration has published a bill that seek bar Members of Parliament and Councillors from floor crossing. The diminishing national educational results is another matter that the BDP says deserves concentration to overturn.
“Are we getting value out of investment we make,” Masisi asked rhetorically during the campaigns. Masisi promised that he will engage Ministry of Basic Education (MOBE) to do school mapping. “In our education we have not responded to the way we should have especially to junior school students, we have created prisons which are not good for human development, this is my professional view.”
He also revealed that plans are underway to resume double shift. “Concentration of kids for four hours is too much. We will engage MOBE to commit to double shifting.” “We will revise educational bills so that it will more aligned to the knowledge based economy,” Balopi added.
Balopi says as a party they will also suggest bills that will be able to sustain the nation on how to respond to the new/normal as a result of Covid-19. “More especially looking and employer/employee relation and occupational health and many more other bills and debates aimed at improving the livelihoods of Batswana,” he concluded.