Greater Gaborone surpasses supply by 18 Million litres a day
The scarcity of clean water in the southern parts of the country has reached critical levels such that expectant mothers are required to bring their own buckets full of water upon admission in some government clinics to be used after delivery.
The Ministry of Health has confirmed that the unreliable water supply which the country has been experiencing for a couple of months now, has virtually paralysed operations in some health facilities, forcing relatives and friends of the patients under hospitalisation to bring water from home for bathing and drinking.
“It is not the woman in labour who is asked to bring water, but those who are visiting her. What we are doing is partnership. It is the responsibility of the health facility to provide what needs to be provided. But the current situation calls for what we call mabogo dinku a a thebana (literally meaning to help each other) state of affairs. Asking the guardians to bring water for patients is one of the quickest ways of addressing the current water supply situation,” explained the chief Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Health, Doreen Motshegwa in an interview this week.
Lesirane clinic and Nkoyaphiri clinics in the Thamaga/Mogoditshane sub District are some of the clinics which have been experiencing challenges in maternity wards due to water scarcity as the Water Utilities water bowsers are not keeping up with the demand. For instance on a monthly basis, Lesirane clinic receives around seventy patients in the maternity ward and many other patients in the out-patient section whose demand for water is overwhelming the bowser supply by the Water Utilities.
“The clinic is very busy. It is a 24 hour health centre with many patients. The water is used to flush toilets, for cleaning and drinking as well. So a single Jojo tank cannot keep up with the demand. That is why we have been requesting for cooperation from the people. Nobody is forced to bring the water, but when the relatives do bring water for the patient, that water will only be used by that patient. It is not to be shared with others,” Motshegwa further explained.
Lesirane clinic is a catchment health facility for Block 7, Tsolamosese, Mokole and part of Nkayaphiri population. Some of the people living in these areas get water from public standpipes as the water has not yet been connected to private homes.
“When my daughter went on labour last night we hired a taxi to take her to the clinic, but I was shocked when we were told to bring 20 litres of water! I do not have a car and I had to go and queue at the standpipe in the middle of the night so that she and the baby can be cleaned,” explained one resident.
As of Tuesday this week other major villages in the greater Gaborone such as Mmopane, Metsimotlhabe, Gabane, Tloaneng and Bokaa did not have water at all. Other major villages such a Mochudi, Tlokweng and Kumakwane were receiving water at very low pressure.
Information from the Water Utilities Corporation suggests that the greater Gaborone areas are demanding more water than the corporation can supply at the moment.
“The greater Gaborone area’s average demand surpasses supply by 17.9 million litres a day. Due to this, the area will continue to experience low pressure to no water supply even outside the rationing schedule,” a WUC report revealed this week.
WUC maintains that the cause is due to the layout of the water network which is not efficient in bringing water from the northern part of the city to the Southern part for redistribution.
Most areas that are affected are those who were supplied by the Gaborone and Bokaa Dams which are currently dry. Other areas in the South which did not have water this week included, Lobatse, Molapowabojang and Kgomokasitwa.
Meanwhile,as people continue to grapple with inadequate water supply, the Political wing of government is not promising any immediate solution to the problem. Water rationing continues whilst people are told to wait for rain.
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.