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P35 million Maruapula Testing Centre fails

Multitudes of Class B driving license applicants queuing to complete yard tests will have to wait until next year as the new Department of Road Transport and Safety (DRTS) automated testing system has experienced malfunctions since opening six months ago.    

The P35 million built Maruapula Testing Centre was projected to service Gaborone and peripheral areas. However, ever since the Korean company, Neo Information Systems handed the project it has not performed to the expected standards. This has affected the licensing system as most people are congested in the yard level.

After exercising patience for some time with the hope that the situation will normalise, clients are now fed-up. This week scores of livid instructors and candidates had to summon the DRTS leadership for an impromptu meeting at the ground, lamenting about the service they get from the facility. Top of the concerns is failure by the ground to test 120 candidates in a day as it was initially promised. To make matters worse, is the failure to at least manage to test 60 per day.

DRTS earlier this year abandoned the old manual system of testing drivers and introduced the automated one. The idea was for the candidates to be tested by a system which is objective and to avoid human errors from examiners. “Only one vehicle is available the other two have mechanical faults. Batteries are dead, no pressure on tires and even the one available sometimes run out of fuel and you can imagine the demand for licenses,” member of the Botswana Drivers Training Association Lesego Dithore told DRTS chief Mokotedi at the meeting.
Besides it is said there are only two examiners who cannot manage the number of applicants.

Not only is that, the Information Technology system at the ground is also down leading to the whole failure. “They could have continued with the old system of testing people because there is a lot that needs to be done before this one can be fully functional as it should,” Emmanuel Kebadirejang of The Homestead Pty Ltd said.

The Homestead is a company that was partnering with the Koreans in the building of the facility. The company was to manage and ensure the centre run smoothly after the departure of the Asians since they have been given the technical knowhow.  “It will take time before it can service as it should. The government is yet to procure IT services from us which will take time, and while we are aware of some challenges here, we still have to thoroughly look at others and bring equipment here which is ordered from Korea. Things like Tachometer will be needed,” Kebadirejang said on the sidelines of the meeting.

DRTS boss Mokotedi who was faced with plethora of questions from the irate public conceded failure. “Yes I wholly agree we failed,” he said. “There are problems here and we should work together to address this. We have apologized to the association as the three cars we have lose signals while on the field, so im going to request patience,” he told a fully packed waiting room.

The amenity which boasts of being the first of its kind in Africa should work concurrently with the old yard if the DRTS wants to issue out licenses, candidates wrote in a letter presented to Mokotedi. “Allow me to say this, issues outside my jurisdiction will be escalated to my principals and I will do that on this matter to have two fields working concurrently,” said Mokotedi.  He however assured angry multitudes that they are on the brink of procuring the services from The Homestead.

An automated testing system is the way to go for most of the countries. Botswana joined the bandwagon despite the glitches, but the system has been hailed as the best in exception of the challenges experienced. It is anticipated that the facility will be revived by the IT experts while candidates use the old manual system.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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