North West District Councillors were on Tuesday divided over the re-introduction of Botswana National Service Programme commonly known as Tirelo Sechaba.
Councillors from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) applauded government for bringing back the programme which they argued would be effective in keeping the youth occupied and away from mischief.
BDP Councillor for Thito ward Mmoedi Modiege said Tirelo Sechaba was a good initiative to create employment for the out of school youth.
“No country in the world has ever managed to eradicate poverty but the efforts made by the government should be applauded.” Modiegi said.
Another BDP councillor Vepaune Moreti concurred with his colleague’ sentiments.
“Those who will not meet University entrance requirements and can not be enrolled with Ipelegeng scheme will have to go for Tirelo Sechaba,” Moreti noted.
He further said that although the people were not consulted prior to the introduction of the programme, they do not have a problem with it since it is a good initiative that will benefit many young people.
The Botswana National Front Councillor for Matlapana Ward, Tapoloso Mosika however criticised the programme which he argued would have a bad impact on the youth.
“Even the initial Tirelo Sechaba programme had its own disadvantages youth such as when young people became subjects of abuse from their hosts families because they could not to afford to pay rent.”
“The programme is just a waste of money by government and I am against its introduction.
If you put party affiliation aside and look into the issue, you will see that our government has run out of ideas.”
Another opposition party councillor, Bathobakae Ramasu from the Botswana Congress Party said Tirelo sechaba is a waste of resources and time.
“We do have an internship programme, so why a similar programme?” Ramasu of Moeti Ward asked.
The councillors were responding to the NWDC Chairperson, Lathang Molonda ‘s brief on how the new Tirelo Sechaba scheme was meant to operate.
“The programme will target unemployed and out of school youth between the ages of 20-30 years.It will be implemented throughout all the 57 constituencies in order to achieve a greater geographical coverage while targeting areas with higher poverty prevalence and unemployment rates.
The participants of the programme will be posted to different ministries and departments which shall then be responsible for them throughout their service.” Molonda said.
Tirelo sechaba will be designed to foster behavioural change and instil some level of responsibility and accountability and tap into creativity and energy of young people to improve delivery in the public service.
It will be under the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture and will commence next year in April, Molonda further explained.