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Where is Vision 2036?

Publishing Date : 27 November, 2018

Ndulamo Anthony Morima

When delivering his last State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA), the then President, Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, stated that the prime objective of the new vision, Vision 2036, remained delivery of prosperity for all and ensuring that every Motswana enjoyed a dignified livelihood.

Vision 2036, he opined, underscores the fact that the nation must remain focused on its national development path. This is incontrovertibly true. But, it is also irrefutably true that a nation can only follow a path it not only knows, but also knows where it leads. The question is: do our people really know about Vision 2036? Do they know about the development path or agenda set by Vision 2036?   

Though Vision 2016 did not become the success it should have been in terms of implementation, it was known by all. Not only did Batswana know about it. They also associated with it. Many were proud to say “Vision 2016 ke yame!”, loosely translated to mean Vision 2016 is mine. Many, even the semi-literate, knew the Vision 2016 pillars by heart. Students drew the Vision 2016 logo on the covers of their school books, on walls and on chalk boards.

Perhaps the reason people easily associated with Vision 2016’s pillars is that they were easily relatable and invoked, in a citizen, a sense of national pride and patriotism. They could be personalized. But, more than that. The pillars sounded like a dream that all enjoyed dreaming though they may never live it. Who would not want to be part of an informed and educated nation? Who would not want to live in a safe and secure nation?

Who would not want to enjoy the fruits of a prosperous, productive and innovative nation? We all want to be citizens of a compassionate, just and caring nation, don’t we? We all want to live in an open, democratic and accountable nation, don’t we? All man, including the morally deviant, aspire to live in a moral and tolerant country, don’t they? Who does not want to be a citizen of a country where unity and pride prevails; where peace and tranquillity beacons?

Vision 2016 was a people’s vision. It was developed following nationwide consultations by a Presidential Task Group, led by one of the greatest patriots this nation has ever had, the late Baledzi Gaolathe.Not only that. Its conceptualisation and development occurred during the tenure of a great leader, the late Sir Ketumile Masire. He did not champion it because it was the fashionable thing to do. No! he championed it because he believed in it and believed it would lead his people to the dream land.

Masire’s successor, Festus Mogae, another patriot of note, when taking the baton from Masire embraced Vision 2016. Consequently, his government promoted its implementation. The Vision informed the National Development Plans and budgets. State-of-the-Nation Addresses and Budget Speeches were incomplete if they lacked reference to Vision 2016. Various organizations and schools ran essay competitions based on Vision 2016. The month of September was set aside not only for Independence Day celebrations, but also as a Vision month.

Then came Khama. Instead of embracing the five national principles of 'Democracy, Development, Self-Reliance, Unity and Botho he introduced his own four, then five Ds, of Democracy, Dignity, Discipline, Development and Delivery. Unfortunately, Khama, in a desperate attempt to set his own legacy, focused on the 5Ds at the expense of not only the five national principles, but also Vision 2016. Consequently, it was only at the twilight of his tenure that he hurriedly developed Vision 2036.

The Presidential Task Team tasked with the development of Vision 2036 was only launched on 19th October 2015 but was expected to conclude the draft vision document by May 2016 so that it is adopted by the National Assembly during its sitting of July/August 2016.
This was a wrong start. How can a country’s long-term Vision be drafted in seven months? Certainly, seven months cannot have been enough for the Presidential Task Team to review Vision 2016’s evaluation reports; review the Vision 2036 framework developed by the National Strategy Office and consult the public through the press, meetings, seminars and submissions by individuals and/or organizations and any other platform including electronic media.

Also, though the Presidential Task Team was diverse in terms of the various sectors of the society, e.g. youth, women, people living with disabilities, faith-based groups and sports, it was not diverse in terms of having people with dissenting views from those of government.  Most Presidential Task Team members, especially high-profile members, were well known supporters of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). Conspicuously absent from the Presidential Task Team were prominent Opposition politicians, non-conformist academics, progressive student organizations, minority right interest groups, etc.

These people often criticize government policy not because they are not patriotic, but because they want the best for their country. They too love their Botswana and are not enemies of the state. A country’s Vision is not built on false consensus. It is built on true consensus which comes after divergent, and even dissident views, are heard. This is the essence of one of our national principles, therisano, i.e. consultation.

That is why our forefathers and foremothers said: ‘mmualebe o bua la gagwe gore mona lentle a tswe la gagwe’ and ‘mafoko a kgotla a mantle otlhe’. These adages simply call for tolerance of differing views within Tswana culture. Yet, during Vision 2036’s development some of our nation’s greatest minds were sidelined. Because Batswana were not adequately involved in Vision 2016’s evaluation exercise, Vision 2036 was founded on a defective foundation. It was not based on an honest assessment of the country’s performance in pursuit of achieving the Vision 2016 ideals.

Not even MPs who had the mandate to adopt Vision 2036, had enough time to consult their constituencies. They had only one month between the Presidential Task Team’s presentation of the draft document in May 2016 and the National Assembly’s sitting in July 2016.  Can we then comfortably say Vision 2036 was legitimately adopted by the National Assembly? Does it truly reflect Batswana’s views and aspirations? Will our future generations truly inherit a people’s dream, or they will inherit a leader’s dream?

Can we comfortably say Batswana know about Vision 2036? In my view, they don’t. Whose Vision is it then? Is it for Batswana or it is for the ruling elite? Unlike Vision 2016’s pillars, Vision 2036’s pillars are dispassionate. They are detached from a citizen’s sense of being. They are mere statements which do not invoke any emotion on our people. What sense of patriotism is elicited by the mention of such barren statements as Sustainable Economic Development, Human and Social Development, Sustainable Environment and Good Governance, Peace and Security?

What about them? Do our people know Vision 2036’s motto, if there is? What is Vision 2036’s logo? Who is Vision 2036’s face? Has Khama’s successor, His Excellency the President, Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi, embraced it? I doubt he has. If he had, it would have been the theme of his inaugural speech, but it was not. If H.E Masisi had embraced Vision 2036 it would have been the theme for this year’s SONA, but it was not.

Khama’s statement that the Sustainable Economic Development pillar would see Botswana transformed into a high-income country, where continued growth would be underpinned by a more inclusive, diversified and export led economy will remain a dream if we do not put Vision 2036 at the centre of our planning.

The same applies to the Sustainable Environment pillar. That it is predicated on the optimal use of natural resources, which is held in stewardship as God's enduring gift to past, present and future generations, as Khama opined, will remain a mirage if H.E Masisi’s government does not embrace it.How can our republic remain a bastion of freedom, security and the rule of law, as Khama opined, if very few Batswana know that good governance, peace and security is one of 2036 pillars? Where is Vision 2036?



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