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Botswana’s water and energy sectors extremely poor – report

The Political Economy Analysis Energy and Water Sectors Report says Botswana has a poor service provision in water and energy sectors, saying the transition from Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation to Water Utilities Corporation perceived to have not been well planned.

According to the report, some villages perceived to be worse-off under the current arrangement. Political economy analysis is concerned with the interaction of political and economic processes in a society, the distribution of power and wealth between different groups and individuals as well as the processes that create, sustain and transform these relationships over time. 

The study aims to situate development intervention within an understanding of the prevailing political and economic processes in society- specifically, the incentives, relationships, and distribution and contestation of power between different groups and individuals. In 2016, the then President Ian Khama said universal access to energy and water is a major strategy of the regional leadership for transforming socio-economic wellbeing of the region’s citizenry. He said energy and water are critical ingredients to the SADC region’s efforts aimed at advancing economic development, regional integration and poverty reduction strategies.

The report reiterated that water supply in Botswana is made up of international rivers at 49%, while dams score sits at 42% and ground water as well as recycled water are at 8% and 1% respectively. Water demand is forecast to reach 285.8 cubic mega metres a year by 2030, whereas demand was only 193.4 mega metres 19 years ago. The national per-capita consumption has remained generally unchanged at 0.15 cubic metres.

Botswana government strategy-universal access to drinking water by all citizens says all urban households have access to drinking water sources at 100%, and half of rural households have access to drinking water sources at 90%, a growing proportion of households have water inside their yard and house. The report also indicated that sanitation facility access rate is 85% of the total population. However, Botswana has domestic water access compared to many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

However, Botswana has high variability of annual run-off related to highly variable rainfall patterns, and most surface water resources are subjected to the SADC protocol on shared water courses, shared in a fair, equitable and sustainable way with other countries. The report also said Botswana has limited groundwater resources, and high variations in recharge rates saline groundwater in large parts of western and northern Botswana and escalating domestic, urban and peri-urban water demand.

 It was indicated that stakeholder and private sector participation is also a barrier, as the involvement of the private sector or civil society in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of water supply systems is relatively low. Further, end users have limited role in policy formulation. Thermal energy for household applications has no established institution for promoting these applications, the report said.

The report underlined that there is no availability variety of appliances, no supply chain established and no promotion of local manufacturing job creation. Households and end users do not have financing to acquire appliances and are not convinced about utility of appliances.
Government of Botswana does not have control over harvesting of fuel wood, and appliances may not be adapted enough to meet cultural requirements, it said.

The report identified gaps and barriers in the power sector, saying there is no standard power purchases agreement, renewable energy feed in tariffs only cater for small capacities, no mandatory framework for energy audits and management. The country is also said to be have no dedicated RE/EE institutions-tendency for uncoordinated planning.

As for the supply chain, capacity of grid to connect RE has not been established, and there are high costs of RE and EE appliances, no local manufacturing of RE technologies and low appreciation of RE benefits both from long terms cost benefits and clean energy. It was also shared that connection grid by consumers still unaffordable for the low income groups.

Green energy sector also has many gaps, the report established. Government has no established potential demand to warrant policy, and there is limited institutional support for focusing on productive use of modern energy. As for the supply chain, there are no well-established technology suppliers, designers, installers and maintenance capacity. The report also said there are high landed costs and no local manufacturing of some systems.

End users do not have focused credit financing for productive uses, high upfront costs, cost and benefits are not well communicated, small systems and high transaction costs are some of the barriers households come across within the green energy sector, the report said.
Moreover, the report indicated that the policies are generally top-down and not fully address the right to energy and water as human rights. It said there is lack of energy policy, as current policy has been at draft stage since 2015. The absence of the policy, it said, decried to limit the opining up of the sector of individual power generators especially with regard to renewable energy.

The report recommended that there is a need to establish a political contract around energy and water-issue-based politics. Making energy and water a more prominent political priority is also critical, and this can be made through strengthened awareness raising, education and communication on energy and water issues, which receives inadequate attention in Botswana.

The political contract can also be made possible through the identification and support of reform champions within government who would be prepared to champion energy and water at higher political levels, as well as evidence based and credible research through local research institutions to influence government and the building of citizen campaigns, to redefine political obligations around energy and water supply.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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