INTERVIEW: Twaambo Mudenda on Politics

My name is Twaambo Mudenda. I’m a 21 year old Zambian that was born and raised in Botswana, and that still is home even though I’m currently in China for my tertiary studies.

Q As a young person, what are your views on politics and their importance in our society?

A I think politics is extremely important in society as it’s supposed to play a key role in governance. Regardless of national origin, politics influence the daily lives of citizens from all socioeconomic backgrounds, races and ethnic origins. Politics directly affect our lives, socially and economically, we as the youth need to know and have an interest in it.

Q Do you think politicians and the current political climate are helping the youth develop in any way? If not, please elucidate further.

A The government definitely does have structures in place to help develop the youth. These structures could be much be implemented though. CEDA as an example leaves a lot to be desired. The government could and should do a much better job, there’s a lot lacking. Aside from BOCODOL I’ve personally never heard of any other vocational schools in Botswana, and BOCODOL doesn’t even do much to be called a vocational school. That’s a grey area for youth in Botswana. Vocational education could do a lot to boost the youth, curb unemployment and the like. The youth though, also need to take up an active role in choosing the people in positions of power. We barely attend parliamentary meetings and are clueless about what goes in the country. A greater interest in these matters would go a long way in picking competent people that would know, understand and solve problems affecting the youth.

Q In your view, is the playing field equal for both men and women within the political sphere?

A When it comes to the political playing field, women undoubtedly have little to work with, and that’s putting it lightly. In the 2009 elections the BDP and BNF each fielded just three female candidates, even though there are 57 constituencies. The BCP was a little better with four female candidates. How did it turn out? All seven female opposition candidates lost and two from BDP won. Yes, the president later put two more women in parliament. Still disgraceful when you realize women only take up 6.6 % of parliamentary seats. Women definitely have it much, much harder in the political sphere. Maybe this is because the general consensus is women belong in the kitchen, flipping pots and changing diapers. Income disparities between men and women don’t help much either. Lack of income means women would rather support their families and not put it on the line by running for public office. We could go on forever on this one, there’s so much wrong there.

Q How do you see the political future of our country within the next ten to fifteen years?

A There honestly isn’t much to suggest things getting any rosier in the next ten plus years. The economy continues to steadily fall, unemployment is only increasing, the cost of living is on the rise, and so much more. I’m actually scared for my haven that is Botswana. I may not be Motswana, but I love that country to the bone. Quite obvious when it’s been the only home I’ve known since birth. So it really saddens me when I have to say I don’t see things getting any better. I’m scared it will only get much worse. It’s a scary thought. I hope to see me more women in political power. I hope to see more competent people in politics that get the job done. I hope we get more accountability from the people that lead us. It’s pretty bleak when I imagine the future, but hope, right?

An interview conducted under the Voices of Batswana Youth project created by Ms. Nozizwe W. Ntesang.