The outspoken Member of Parliament for Ngami, Carter Hikuama has come out guns blazing in his response to President Mokgweetsi Masisi’ State of Nation Address (SONA). Hikuama has labelled the address as a weak and routine rhetoric that lacks vision and strategic focus, and further fails to inspire hope for the vast majority of Batswana.
“Our health system is in shambles, our education system has lost direction, corruption has been institutionalised, our agricultural productivity is at its lowest with the beef industry negatively affected by live exportation of cattle and livestock theft, unemployment and poverty marching hand in hand in our streets and households,” he highlighted.
According to Hikuama, nothing from the SONA shows a strong political commitment in confronting the above mentioned ills or challenges.
Hikuama is of the view that there is no pronounced strategy on how the BDP led government intends to reverse the incidents of poverty, unemployment and social inequalities in the country.
He noted that challenges facing the educational system such as poor academic performance, dilapidated buildings, shortage of learning materials, high-level of indiscipline more especially students, shortage of staff accommodation and working space call for intervention and political commitment on the part of government.
Hikuama added that the Remote Area Development Programme (RADP), whose aim is to support community development, has no or little activities to show in his constituency and the whole district.
“The Somelo farm ear marked for our people has not been developed thus far. Qhorotshaa establishment & development has been stalled due to lack of water, an aggressive approach need to be found, to ensure water is secured in Qhorotshaa.”
He said despite agriculture having the potential to fight poverty, unemployment and hunger, the sector’s productivity in the country has since gone down. He further said there is need to resolve issues of mismanagement and corruption at the Botswana Meat Commission which in his view remain relevant and viable.
“Once the BDP top leaders stop corruption and allow corporate governance to prevail at the agency, BMC will go back to its glorious days, make profit as well as pay farmers bonus at the end of the year.”
As for health, the MP noted that shortage of medicines and drugs in hospitals is worrisome and cannot be tolerated any longer, arguing that constant justifications cannot treat and heal people. Hikuama said the current state of medical supply and services is tantamount to privatisation of the health services by the government.
“The state of our clinics leaves much to be desired, they need serious maintenance and upgrading. Shortage of Health care workers in the constituency is a serious concern, government should device a strategy or incentives for the retention and attraction of staff in Ngamiland, such as accelerated promotions, comprehensive RASA, decent and free accommodation.”
Hikuama has also criticised that the state of roads is another issue that needs government attention highlighting that there are no roads in Ngamiland.
“Our only high way form Maun to Mohembo is damaged or outlived its lifespan, and needs reconstruction. Gravel roads also need attention more especially during this rainy season. Our roads should be treated as a crisis to get the attention they deserve.”