Wesbank

Cheap politics or genuine march?

SHARE   |   Monday, 07 September 2015   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Gaolathe and Khama Gaolathe and Khama


UDC, Khama counter attack 

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The people are thirsty-UDC

"We write as messengers of a weary and tearful nation. Our people are thirsty. Our people face the risk of hygiene related ailments and our entire health care system is at risk. Our businesses are beginning to fold. Foreign investors are reluctant to bet on our country. It is becoming more difficult for our economy to create jobs as many of our youngsters remain jobless," UDC

Govt. doesn't make rain-Khama 

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"We can build dams, drill and equip boreholes, lay pipelines to carry water all over as we have done and continue to do, but if it does not rain, we will always be challenged. The rain is not brought by Government, but Government if it rains, will harvest and take water to the people". Ian Khama

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The opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) on Friday marched through the streets of Mogoditshane and Gaborone to protest the debilitating water and power shortages, which have gripped the country for several months. 
Although some have suggested that the UDC is capitalising on the current crisis to score cheap political points, the party has defended the peaceful demonstration as creative a platform for the general population to call on the leadership to provide solutions. The absence of president of UDC Duma Boko at the demonstrations on Friday raised murmurs among those who turned up saying he failed to capitalise much on the biggest outpouring of public anger over the water and power crisis currently crippling the country.
UDC members draped in yellow, orange and green t-shirts took to the streets of Mogoditshane and Gaborone on Friday to protests the shortage of water and power calling on President Ian Khama to address the crisis and blaming him for rampant corruption at government enclave and lack of accountability. The protests drew relatively modest crowds, likely giving President Khama and Minister of Minerals Energy and Water Resources Kitso Mokaila some breathing room as the cold and windy weather deterred most people from embarking on the protest.
The absence of UDC President Boko who is also Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington North seemed to have taken the limelight from the event as most people expected him to attend as promised by Gaborone Bonninton South MP Ndaba Gaolathe who is also UDC Vice President.
On the 1st of September 2015 UDC Vice President Ndaba Gaolathe posted on his Facebook page informing the public that Boko and other party leaders will attend the march.There were murmurs amongst the UDC supporters over the absence of Boko and other party leaders who were expected to lead the march.  It was clear that most demonstrators wanted to hear Boko with his mastery in public speaking giving them hope. “Gatwe o ile festival yaga Toni Braxton ko South Africa (I heard that he has gone to Toni Braxton show in South Africa),” joked one UDC supporter as others burst into laughter.
UDC spokesperson Dr Phenyo Butale said that Boko has been held by other party assignment outside the country. “He would have loved to attend the demonstration but had to attend other party business as part of our preparation for the 2019 general elections,” said Butale who is also the Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central.
Butale said other UDC MPs couldn’t attend the march as they are still held up in their constituencies and said that they expect them to attend similar demonstration which will be held in other parts of the country soon. On relatively poor attendance, Butale said that this was due the fact most people were at work or at school. On why they didn’t hold the demonstration on Saturday to accommodate the working class and students, Butale reasoned that they had to hold the demonstration on Friday as they were to hand over the petition to the Office of the President and that can be done during working hours.
The Gaborone Central MP said that they are going to hold more demonstrations around the country and most of them will be held on weekends to accommodate other people.
In the petition which was accepted by President Khama’s media officer Kobe Kitso, UDC presented 10 points on what must be done to address the water and power crisis. The UDC want government to establish an independent regulator for water and power by the end of 2015 and to level the playing field for potential stakeholders and encourage significant investment.
The Botswana’s main opposition also want government to invest adequate resources in critical water infrastructure and fair play in power/water procurement which is free of conflict of interest and corruption. Through the petition, read by Dr Butale, UDC calls on government to invest in solar energy and to collaborate with other stakeholders to significantly enhance the use of solar energy in Botswana.
"We write as messengers of a weary and tearful nation. Our people are thirsty. Our people face the risk of hygiene related ailments and our entire health care system is at risk. Our businesses are beginning to fold. Foreign investors are reluctant to bet on our country. It is becoming more difficult for our economy to create jopbs as many of our youngsters remain jobless," reads part of the petition.
Dr Butale also called on President Khama to provide the nation with regular updates on the state of water and power, “this should be done at presidential, ministerial and other levels of government.”
Speaking at the petition handing over Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) Labour Secretary Johnson Motshwarakgole said that they are going to hold nationwide demonstrations against lack of accountability and poor governance by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). He warned that government must not take Batswana for granted as they might revolt against them.
Botswana Movement for Democracy Youth League (BMDYL) President Phenyo Segokgo who is also chairman for South East District Council said that they are going to destroy small dams built by some businessman resident in the Mokolodi suburbs on the Gaborone dam catchment area. “I have written letters to them to dismantle those dams within seven days as they are the ones making Gaborone Dam dry or else we are going to pollute them,” said the militant youth.



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