Real Alternative Party Youth Fighters Team (RAPYFT) as a Pan Africanist Youth movement joins other Africans in commemoration of this year Day of African Child under the theme: “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children”: Progress on Policy and Practices since 2013.
According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), hundreds of millions of girls and boys have experienced some form of violence, exploitation. Botswana as a country still has high rates of child sexual abuse, child human trafficking, and high crime rates amongst others. According to Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) statistics released by Botswana Police service for the year 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016; Botswana had recorded over 200 accumulated cases of defilement. High Incidence of youth in crime is also on the rise, with recent cases of cash in transit in Botswana being committed by the youth.
Though there is strong link on harmful practices affecting children to culture, social and religious practices, we contemplate other predisposing factors such as soaring rates of unemployment, crime and child sexual abuse due to high social and economic inequalities that exist in Botswana. BDP led government over the years has failed in implementation of youth policy programmes, which has escalated social inequality and lack of economic opportunities amongst the youth. We strongly condemn the BDP led government’ for turning our country into a neoliberal state, where capitalism has marginalised the indigenous Batswana and majority of the youth and excluded them from participating in the economy.
Further, the Youth have no access to quality relevant education, quality health care, land (developed or otherwise) amongst others. We argue that the lack of access to these basic needs, is an assault to the dignity of the youth and our people.
RAPYFT notes with concern the rising number of missing people, and just recently the missing child in Lobatse, we join other Batswana and condemn this inhuman act. Botswana subscribes to Sustainable development goal (SDG3) and African Charter on the rights of and welfare of the child (ACRWC) which calls for the elimination of all harmful practices affecting children, issues of human trafficking has been in existence over the years, as a country we continue to fail dismally in addressing this issues, which impact I n attaining this goals. Missing children cases are not promptly investigated, and the perpetrators of such are eluding the wrath of the law. It is now common cause that our people have no confidence in the competence of Botswana Police to investigate missing person’s cases, and are now looking for alternative ways of investigating these crimes. Even though the Botswana Police is clearly incompetent to deal with these matters, they are actively and passionately intimidating victims and denying our people from exhausting their indigenous remedies of solving these cases. They are denying our traditional healers from helping our people in solving these crimes, yet they once went on a whole campaign consuming our resources and placing their trust on a dog to sniff out drugs.
We also condemn the silence of government on issues of human trafficking. In conclusion we wish to remind the Youth of this country that the future of this country and our continent is in our tiny hands. Every generation has fought its own demons, and it is now our turn. The situation of Botswana and Africa is not going to be changed by people who are one foot in a grave. It will have to be changed by us, and we must see ourselves as leaders of today and tomorrow. We should never run away from this country and Africa and go elsewhere to benefit from the labour of other people. We should stay here and fight for this country. It is the only country we have.
Brother Youth Fighters Chairman
Youth Fighters TeamReal Alternative Party (RAP)