It will be a long time before the beleaguered Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) puts an end to the water crisis bedeviling the country. The corporation is having a hard time with funds, and the water shortage situation may not improve if envisaged projects are not urgently funded.
WeekendPost has established that the WUC has an array of projects which are crucial for water security which may not see the light of day due to lack of funds. This publication has gathered that the corporation is currently cajoling government, in particular the principals, Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR) and Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to engage in possible avenues of sourcing funds.
The corporation last week presented to Minister of MMEWR, Kitso Mokaila, a list of projects that the country needs to curtail the water crisis currently threatening the economy of the country albeit limited funds. “We have been asked to submit to government the needs of water and waste water supply in the country. It’s for the government to determine where funds can come from, either from within the country coffers or lenders,” a highly placed source in the WUC executive stated.
“We don’t have financial capacity to implement the projects but they are very important,” he said. The water situation in Botswana has worsened, especially in the Southern part of the country; and consumers have been subjected to water rationing for the past few months. This notwithstanding, parliament this week rejected a motion by Gaborone North legislator Haskins Nkaigwa calling for an investigation into the water (and power) crises currently bedeviling the country.
According to the WUC decision-making official, the organization budgetary funds fall short of implementing all the projects in the pipeline, and therefore, apart from government they can look to other avenues to source funds like the World Bank.
“I don’t expect government to have all the money. There are many sources of funding that can be explored. But the problem is if you borrow money from sources of funding you must be able to repay the loan. WUC does not have the financial capacity to do so,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile WUC Chief Executive Officer Leonard Nxumalo could not be reached for comment. However, it is understood that the World Bank had a delegation in the country a fortnight ago but due to the continuing discussion between WUC, MMEWR and MFDP, the parties had not taken a decision over on the matter.
According to the immaculate source at WUC, “The World Bank, was here two weeks ago and they are prepared to give us the money, but we can’t just say give us the money, government has to exercise some financial prudence in borrowing. However government needs to prioritize in terms of their capacity to borrow. They should look at the threshold to make sure the country does not end up drowned in debt like Greece.”
Information reaching the Weekend Post also suggests that “so far our country has done well as the credit funding of the country is doing well. So the money funders are ready to give the country money as they see the country as credit worthy.” This publication is in possession of a list of the mammoth projects that are categorised into sections needing funds and those whose funds are readily available.
PROJECTS THAT NEED FUNDING According to WUC projects progress updates as at 30 June 2015, which was presented to Minister Mokaila, close to fifty mega projects, priced from millions to billions need funding. Some of the projects includes Gaborone Waste Water Reclamation Project which is estimated at the tune of 450 million.
In addition the Selibe Phikwe – Serule Water Transmission Pipeline to Interconnection needs 180 million which is not available for the project to commence. Boteti Southern and Central Cluster water supply project also need 200 million to be implemented.
Furthermore, Gantsi Township Meriting Phase II projects and Water Network rehabilitation have no funds, both require 80 million to be kick started. Other projects that still have no funding includes a project involving Upgrading of the Sepopa and Gumare Slow Sand Filtration plant which amounts to 75 million.
The Upgrading of Evaporation Ponds, Rehabilitation of Treatment Plant, upgrading of 160mm uPVC Diameter Transmission mains to 200mm Diameter as well as Letlhakane Waste Water Project will need 50 million.
PROJECTS CURRENTLY BEING IMPLEMENTED The projects whose funds are readily available and are being implemented include the upgrading of Mmamashia water treatment plant which requires expansion. The Mmamashia to Gaborone WTW transmission pipeline upgrading also has funds. They are both funded under North South carrier 2 and estimated at 300 million. According to the projects progress update, the Project has money readily available and organizations are yet to tender and commence detailed work on it.
The Palapye Water Treatment Plant, also under the North South carrier 2 is among the projects with ready funding. There is also the Masama East which is 100 kilometers from Gaborone, enroute to Francistown. As at end of June, 32 boreholes were already developed at the project area and will inject 30 million litres per day into North South carrier.
An additional 30 million liters per day is also expected in the Masama West project in which boreholes will be cut and necessary works done. A 100km pipeline from Masama to Mmamashia will also be constructed within a year with a bypass from Mmamashia to Gaborone also being built as back up. Funding is available from MMEWR for the project expected to cost 250 million.
Funds are also available for the Mambo Waste Water Treatment Plant Rehabilitation justified for environmental compliance at 40 million. The plant is not functioning well as it disposes waste into the environment. The river feeds directly to Dikgatlhong dam and the water eventually ends up in Gaborone.
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.