Kweneng District Council (KDC), in a private-public partnership with Rural Metro Botswana has delivered the first of its anticipated 3 modest sized fire stations in Molepolole yesterday.
The public private partnership work which stated in 2013 has resulted in the employment of 39 fire station staffers including the Chief Fire Officer, station commander, 5 leading fire men, 4 senior fire fighters, and 24 fire fighters, 5 communication controllers as well as a single general worker.
The station will be equipped with 2 fire engines and a further 2 rapid response vehicles as well as a varied rescue equipments.
Council Secretary Wazha Tema says that the current fire engines and equipment in use on temporary basis since the permanent KDC fleet is still under factory assembly in South Africa, anticipated to be on home soil by February 2016.
Tema says that after the agreed 5 year contract period the entire facility and equipment will revert back to the council which will then decide whether to continue with Rural Metro outsourcing or further revert back to in sourcing.
Tema also says that the facility will also engage with the Molepolole community and surrounding areas to inform and educate people in how to reduce the risk of fire and other emergencies. For his part Rural Metro group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chris Gilbert said it has been agreed by the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation that the station’s communications facility will obtain the nationally recognised 997 emergency telephone number.
He continued that the station will also be made available for non-emergency services such as the inspection of business premises, schools, hospitals and other government buildings, the enforcement of fire by-laws and the perusal of building plans with regards to the fire safety requirements as well as public education and awareness.
Gilbert continued that while the fire station is modest in its approach with no formal brick and mortar buildings, it will still achieve the objectives of saving life and property as well as rendering humanitarian services. He says that modern fire stations are unaffordable for most organs of state and an alternative, cost effective way of delivering the services needed to provide community protection. He also says that his company commands a pioneering 15 year experience, building capacity for its clients as well as careers for the unemployed youth.
Gilbert said that the first phase of the project involved attaining from council, a suitable site for the fire station while the construction work, including site clearing, paving and fencing was undertaken by locals.
He also says that recruitment was undertaken by way of placing adverts in local fire stations, then shortlisted for physical and academic testing on the basis that they reside in Kweneng while 40 out of 120 enthusiasts made the cut. He says that in order to ensure that a professional service is on offer, the recruit fire fighters will be intensively trained to international standards, achieving full certification at Rural Metro internationally accredited fire academy in South Africa.
He said that the last phase included the acquisition of specialist fire fighting vehicles, designed and built specifically for road conditions experienced in the district, steering g away from fancy chrome and shine vehicles which wouldn’t be practical for the local conditions and would be expensive to maintain.
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.
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.
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.