LUSAKA – The final component of the Kazungula Bridge Project (KBP) on the Zambia /Botswana border is now in place after the signing in Zambia on October 17 of a K263 million contract for the construction of the third and final component of the project – a One-Stop Border-Post (OSBP) facility on the Zambian side.
The first consisted of erecting a temporary bridge over the Zambezi River to facilitate the construction of the 923m permanent road and railway-bridge. Work on this aspect of the project is almost complete, thus making it possible for the contractor to embark on the construction of the foundation of the permanent superstructure.
The second phase was the building of an OSBP on the Botswana side of which the contract was awarded in March this year and work is well underway. The third component that involves the construction of OSBP on the Zambian side is the missing link, but with the recent signing of the deal, works on this phase should commence soon.
Chinese contractor, SEGOCOA, was awarded the contract for the Zambian OSBP whose works (the construction often (10) main buildings, 800 meters of circulation roads, parking areas and 2.4 km of the main bridge approach road – the construction of ten main buildings, 800 meters of circulation roads, parking areas and 2.4 km of the main bridge approach road) must be executed in 30 months.
Other components include a passenger control facility, a scanning-equipment terminal, ablution blocks, freight terminals/freight clearing agencies’ offices, a veterinary department, warehouses, a police station, and waste disposal buildings.
“The signing of this contract on the larger Kazungula Bridge construction project fulfills the final linkage in the implementation of all the project packages. The project is considered a priority by the governments of Botswana and Zambia and is supported by SADC”, said Kanyuka Mumba, the former CEO of the Road Development Agency (RDA) who signed for Zambia.
He reiterated the significance of the project, saying once completed the bridge would provide the much-needed connection between the regional economic areas and link regional ports which handle exports and imports from and through Botswana and Zambia. The bridge would also enhance transportation of cargo and passenger traffic along the regional North-South Corridor, which links the mineral-rich regions of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Botswana, Zimbabwe and the port of Durban in South Africa.
This would be especially so as the bridge project has a provision for a railway line.
Also the OSBP concept and the construction of modern border facilities will significantly reduce border transit times from as much as five days to only one or two days. It is also envisaged that improved border operations and border management will ensure efficient service delivery and curb congestions.
The construction of the OSBPs would help improve regional connectivity and contribute to the regional Integration of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) economies, Mumba said.
“This development will help improve the regional competitiveness of Botswana and Zambia in particular which will in turn boost trade and improve the global competiveness of the entire SADC region,” he added.
Botswana’s Project Manager Pius Seone, who represented the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Transport, Isaac Moepeng and signed for his country, welcomed the consummation and urged the contractor to work round the clock to ensure the project was completed on schedule.
Seone said the project was long overdue as it had been on the drawing board for a long time and that the OSBP on the Zambian side was an important part of the main project and would lay the foundation for the modern way of doing business.
He emphasized the need for policy changes in Botswana and Zambia to facilitate the smooth flow of trade and that the two cooperating governments expected the contractor to deliver quality work.
SEGOCOA’s representative, Deputy Director Shen Fengmei pledged to deliver on time and to the prescribed quality and standard.
The US$259.3 million project was officially launched in September 2014 by then Vice-presidents of Zambia and Botswana Dr Guy Scott and Ponatshego Kedikilwe respectively and is financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the two governments.
It is part of a corridor-long infrastructure improvement programme on the North-South Corridor. The project scope includes a bridge linking Botswana and Zambia over the Zambezi River to replace the existing pontoon. It is due for completion in 2018 and the main contractor is Daewoo Engineering of South Korea. (SPA)
An international report complied in South Africa dubbed ‘Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana’ says that the transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana live a miserable life. The community experiences higher levels of discrimination, violence and ill health.
In this report, it has been indicated that this is because their gender identity, which does not conform to narrowly define societal norms, renders them more vulnerable. Gender identity is a social determinant of health, which means that it is a factor that influences people’s health via their social context, their communities and their experiences of social exclusion. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has recognized this, and transgender people are considered a vulnerable population under the Botswana Second National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS 2010-2017.
In a recent study that shed light on the lived experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana, transgender persons often experience discrimination because of their gender identity and expression. The study was conducted by the University of Cape Town, LEGABIBO, BONELA, as well as Rainbow Identity Association and approved by the Health Ministry as well as the University of Botswana.
Of the 77 transgender and gender non-conforming people who participated in the study, less than half were employed. Two thirds, which is approximately 67% said that they did not have sufficient funds to cover their everyday needs. Two in five had hidden health concerns from their healthcare provider because they were afraid to disclose their gender identity.
More than half said that because of their gender identity, they had been treated disrespectfully at a healthcare facility (55%), almost half (46%) said they had been insulted at a healthcare facility, and one quarter (25%) had been denied healthcare because of their gender identity.
At the same time, the ‘Are we doing right’ study suggests that transgender and non-conforming people might be at higher risks of experiencing violence and mental ill-health, compared to the general population. More than half had experienced verbal embarrassment because of their gender identity, 48% had experienced physical violence and more than one third (38%) had experienced sexual violence.
The study showed that mental health concerns were high among transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana. Half of the transgender and gender non-conforming study participants (53%) showed signs of depression. Between one in four and one in six showed signs of moderate or severe anxiety (22% among transgender women, 24% among transgender men and 17% among gender non-conforming people).
Further, the study revealed that many had attempted suicide: one in three transgender women (32%), more than one in three transgender men (35%) and three in five gender non-conforming people (61%).
International research, as well as research from Botswana, suggests that not being able to change one’s gender marker has a negative impact on access to healthcare and mental health and wellbeing. The study further showed that one in four transgender people in Botswana (25%) had been denied access to healthcare. This is, at least in part, linked to not being able to change one’s gender marker in the identity documents, and thus not having an identity document that matches one’s gender identity and gender expression.
In its Assessment of Legal and Regulatory Framework for HIV, AIDS and Tuberculosis, the Health Ministry noted that “transgender persons in Botswana are unable to access identity documents that reflect their gender identity, which is a barrier to health services, including in the context of HIV. In one documented case, a transwoman’s identity card did not reflect her gender identity- her identity card photo indicated she was ‘male’. When she presented her identity card at a health facility, a health worker called the police who took her into custody.”
The necessity of a correct national identity document goes beyond healthcare. The High Court of Botswana explains that “the national identity document plays a pivotal role in every Motswana’s daily life, as it links him or her with any service they require from various institutions. Most activities in the country require every Motswana to produce their identity document, for identification purposes of receiving services.”
According to the Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana report, this effectively means that transgender, whose gender identity and expression is likely to be different from the sex assigned to them at birth and from what is recorded on their identity document, cannot access services without risk of denial or discrimination, or accusations of fraud.
In this context, gays and lesbians advocacy group LEGABIBO has called on government through the Department of Civil and National Registration to urgently implement the High Court rulings on gender marker changes. As stated by the High Court in the ND vs Attorney General of Botswana judgement, identity cards (Omang) play an important role in the life of every Motswana. Refusal and or delay to issue a Motswana with an Omang is denying them to live a complete and full-filing life with dignity and violates their privacy and freedom of expression.
The judgement clarified that persons can change their gender marker as per the National Registrations Act, so changing the gender marker is legally possible. There is no need for a court order. It further said the person’s gender is self-identified, there is no need to consult medical doctors.
LEGABIBO also called on government to develop regulations that specify administrative procedure to change one’s gender marker, and observing self-determination process. Further, the group looks out for government to ensure members of the transgender community are engaged in the development of regulations.
“We call on this Department of Civil and National Registration to ensure that the gender marker change under the National Registration Act is aligned to the Births and Deaths Registry Act to avoid court order.
Meanwhile, a gay man in Lobatse, Moabi Mokenke was recently viciously killed after being sexually violated in the streets of Peleng, shockingly by his neighbourhood folks. The youthful lad, likely to be 29-years old, met his fate on his way home, from the wearisome Di a Bowa taverns situated in the much populated township of Peleng Central.
CEO of Khato Civils Mongezi Mnyani has come out of the silence and is going all way guns blazing against the company’s adversaries who he said are hell-bent on tarnishing his company’s image and “hard-earned good name”
Speaking to WeekendPost from South Africa, Mnyani said it is now time for him to speak out or act against his detractors. Khato Civils has done several projects across Africa. Khato Civils, a construction company and its affiliate engineering company, South Zambezi have executed a number of world class projects in South Africa, Malawi and now recently here in Botswana.
About ten (10) Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidates who lost the 2019 general election and petitioned results this week met with UDC Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando to discuss the way forward concerning the quandary that is the legal fees put before them by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) lawyers.
For a while now, UDC petitioners who are facing the wrath of quizzical sheriffs have demanded audience with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) but in vain. However after the long wait for a tete-a-tete with the UDC, the petitioners met with Saleshando accompanied by other NEC members including Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, Reverend Mpho Dibeela and Dennis Alexander.