If they had their way, the Alliance for Progressives (AP) say they would do away with the country’s trade dispute and Media practitioner’s Acts as well as the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) and authoritarian Presidential powers, among others.
AP leader, Ndaba Gaolathe expressed his distaste for the government systems which he deemed non progressive, at the recent presentation of the party’s annual policy statement at The Big 5 lodge in Mogoditshane .
“The intelligence services is more powerful than the rest of the government decision making machinery. It is them that decide who gets awarded the multi-million government procurement assignments, it is them that decide whose expatriate VISA gets approved, it is them that decide who should be appointed to some of the key roles in government and the private sector, it is them that re-allocate willy-nilly government reserves as they did with the National Petroleum Fund. They are above the law and no one is able to find a way for them to face the wrath of the law. The current government has neither the capacity nor the appetite to bring the DIS before the law,” Gaolathe stated.
According to Gaolathe, the reason the country’s operations are not of checks and balances owes to the the fact that the government system is centralised and Parliament, on the other hand, lacks the institutional capacity to fulfill its constitutional mandate.
“It is a legitimized authoritarian rule. Our government is configured in a way that not only legitimizes authoritarianism by the central government or Presidency in particular, it promotes it. We cannot with our system, expect to successfully combat corruption when we know the system is configured in a way that inherently feeds corruption, not combat it,” Gaolathe lamented further.
The youthful leader’s other concern was that the general public is not free and lives in fear of government. “Some are in denial, others believe it to be false, but many say our people live in fear of their own government. Even those who are in denial are afraid to speak freely on their phones and will refuse to be drawn into conversations that involve government, because they feel that this may be used against them somehow.”
It is for these reasons that Gaolathe believes his political movement can bring desired change to a country which has been ruled by a single political party, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) since 1966.
“Those who have waited for a system that treats them fairly, so they don’t have to know someone in the government in order to succeed, in business and their life endeavours are hoping that hour is in 2019. Those living with disabilities, keen to enjoy and cherish the same opportunities and rights, no matter how small, accorded to the mainstream of our population, are anxious if the year 2019 brings with it a fully-fledged scholarship system or access to mainstream facilities for them,” he pointed out.
To make changes, Gaolathe said AP will repeal the offending clauses of the Trade dispute Act which, he said, go against the spirit of convention 87, and place 90% of employees in the essential service cadre.
He further added that his party will scrape laws such as the Media Practitioner’s Act and de-link the government’s procurement of advertising space from editorial posture.
However Gaolathe admitted that AP cannot make it alone, especially in the coming 2019 general elections.
He acknowledged that his party will have to work with others and not field candidates where some political parties which share their vision, have strong representation.