The nation has no sight of sign of relieve as the water crisis that is currently sweeping across the country may take a while before it comes to normal.
WeekendPost has established that the water rationing is expected to stay aput even into the near future unless the country experiences uncommon heavy rains.
Following Gaborone and Bokaa dams drying up completely, “rationing will continue for a while unless we have a good rain,” a highly placed source in the Management of Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) told this publication.
The Corporation, this publication has gathered that, it’s so desperate that, at least for now, it looks up to only rain to manage the water catastrophe. Some projects that are lined-up could not proceed as there are no sufficient funds. Until that time, WUC has confirmed that water rationing will linger on.
“It’s tough but will get over the water crisis if we get good rains,” the WUC official maintained. He said the sources of water supplying the country especially the south part are not sufficient.
Currently, the water crisis is much felt in Greater Gaborone which is dependent on North South Carrier (NSC 1) which transport raw water from Dikgatlhong Dam in the north to the southern part of the country to augment supply. Notwithstanding, NSC could not meet water demand in the south.
NSC is complemented by Molatedi dam is South Africa which only supplies 4.8 liters per day instead of 10liters/day therefore in 50% deficit. In addition Nnywane dam supplies only 2.3 million litres per day, while Masama and Ramotswa Wellfields supplies 20 and 5 million liters per day respectively – way less than the current demand of 125 million litres per day.
This publication understands that water rationing was implemented to cushion the water calamity and, executed at a time when Gaborone dam was about dry up and subsequent to its desiccation. It then intensified last month (August 1) and it’s said to remain as thus until heavy rains surface, God willing.
Update on the water crunch
According to an official update by WUC that was shared with Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water resources (MMEWR) Kitso Mokaila, in Gaborone water supply in across Gaborone (Greater Gaborone) is considered stable with rationing to schedule. “Gaborone water supply remains stable across the city except isolated cases.”
The general water supply is progressing well with slow recovery realized in the Mogoditshane and Tlokweng cluster. In Gabane WUC says supply resumed early hours on Thursday and unfortunately the transmission main failed hence water supply halted. The village then started receiving supply yesterday (Friday).
The update also indicate that water pumping to Tlokweng is ongoing, though with a single pump which is not able to saturate the whole village. In light of the limitation isolation was made at the main reservoir to regulate supply hence areas are expected to start saturating. The current storage attained of 20% is expected to be opened on a controlled supply zone by zone. In fact they stated that “Tlokweng was saturated across village with only 5% remaining without supply after peak.”
Pressure drops are also said to be recognized in Mogoditshane as all focus is put to sustain supply to Mmopane and metsimotlhabe. In view that WUC have to sustain both Tlokweng and Lobatse it has been difficult to maintain uninterrupted pumping to Diremogolo. On average, they point out that pumping is stopped for approximately an hour to build storage at the collector station thus facilitating for pumping to Diremogolo.
In Metsimotlhabe, supply for the areas was said to have opened this morning and the system will build -up pressure during the day and close to full saturation expected late in the evening should supply to Forest hill be maintained. In addition, supply to Lobatse was maintained with a single pump and in Mochudi it started yesterday.
As the areas continue to experience low pressure to no water supply in the country, the water rationing is expected to be implemented as per schedule and even outside the rationing schedule in some cases.
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.