The menace of our roads

12th February 2018
ERNESTO'S CORNER
Column

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By Ernest Moloi -


Internal roads are in a pretty bad shape ever since the advent of the bittersweet deluge of ‘Dineo’. Some have argued that our workmanship is the real problem and that Dineo was just a convenient excuse. Be that as it may commuting to and from work by public transport in Gaborone can be a hellish nightmare, especially for some of us who use kombis. If you prefer the backseat on the kombi to avoid frequently going in and out as passengers board and disembark, you may as well have signed up for double trouble! One particular road that seems not to catch the attention of authorities in spite of its strategic importance to the city’s economy is Kgomokasitwa Road, which runs from the immaculate dual carriage Kudumatse Rd through Gaborone West Industrial area and connects to Kgobaseretse Road on the other end of Old Lobatse Road.

The ordeal begins exactly at the traffic lights next to Seabelo House and continues unabated until you reach the Total fuel storage facility opposite Lynns Funeral Parlour. For that brief albeit tortuous stretch, not only will you be shoved and jolted to the point of throwing up; you’ll also be thrown up and down sometimes hitting the roof of the kombi or falling onto a fellow passenger as the driver navigates the potholes that litter the road. No wonder every time you are referred to a clinic from the hospital to get pills and other medicines you are told the pill or medication is out of stock! The road is so bad that even Central Medical Stores (CMS) drivers have most probably given up using it!I shudder to imagine the prohibitive repair or maintenance costs that the fleet of Central Transport Organisation (CTO); private company vehicles and public transport vehicles incur every month as a result of this road. If it were in developed countries, the companies operating along this road would’ve long launched a class suit against the Department of Roads or Gaborone City Council for loss of business and extreme damage to their vehicles.

There are factories and warehouses along this road, thereby opening it for everyday use by huge trucks that deliver all sorts of goods or pick them for onward transmission to retailers throughout the country. I suppose that besides the poor workmanship by the engineers and contractors, or the collusion between employees at Roads Dept. and consultants to cheat the system, the companies owning these trucks must also shoulder a burden of the blame for the destruction of the road. In fact in Botswana, trucks cause extensive damage to our roads but don’t pay a cent for it! Let us hope incoming President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi will change the outdated unwritten policy that the country cannot have toll gates!

Travelling from Gaborone to Durban is almost the same distance one travels from Gaborone to Maun via Francistown and Nata, but the difference is that getting to Durban by car, you’d have parted with almost P1000 in toll gates charges! Obviously, bus operators charge passengers for this cost, hence the steep price for a bus ticket from Gaborone to Durban. Talking about Masisi, we pick from last week to look at his profile. In 2003 he resigned from UNICEF and joined politics only to be thrashed in the Botswana Democratic Party primaries for Moshupa constituency. Not one to give up, he threw himself in constituency mobilisation culminating with his election as deputy secretary of the Moshupa Branch committee.

In 2004 he joined an international research NGO (CIET) and focused on HIV epidemiology. Masisi won BDP primaries in 2008 to become parliamentary candidate for Moshupa, and won the seat in the 2009 general election. In October 2009 he was appointed Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration at the State Presidency. He was later appointed minister for the same portfolio in 2011 in which position he also oversaw poverty eradication programme and the expansion of broadcasting capacity by Btv and Radio Botswana.

AT the same time he started the Moshupa constituency development show including rolling out and distributing free seedlings to the constituents. He was appointed Acting Minister of Education and Skills Development in April 2014 until general election on 24th October 2014 after which he was re-elected MP for Moshupa-Manyana and then appointed Minister of Education and Skills Development in October 28th, 2014. Masisi was endorsed as he 8th Vice President of Botswana on November 12th 2014 with responsibilities for overseeing government programmes such as poverty eradication; economic diversification drive and employment creation. Masisi is chairperson of the National Aids Council; Rural Development Council and is Leader of the House of the National Assembly. He is married to Neo Jane Masisi (previously Maswabi) and has one daughter.




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