Saturday, June 3, 2023

BOT50’s share to Block 5 residents amounts to P1.75 each or one fat cake!

The 7 231 residents of Block 5 in Gaborone, which is electorally designated as Tlogatloga Ward, will have to figure out a way to make do with the P4 125 that has been allocated to them for the Independence Day celebrations.

If it happens that all have to line up at Tlogatloga Junior Secondary School to get their share of the money, each resident would get P1.75 – which gives very limited shopping options.

The “personal allocation” can buy just one fat cake – which sells for P1. If one is to get any more, he/she would have to set up a multiples-of-four fat cake cooperative society in which members pool their remaining 75 Thebe for additional purchases.

Four members of this society would be able to get three more fat cakes which they can share out among themselves; eight members would do likewise to buy six cakes and 12 would buy nine cakes. The cooperative society would have to remain intact in order to purchase many more food items that citizens of upper middle income class of other Third World countries traditionally eat to celebrate their Golden Jubilee.

What seems to be the best whip-round option appears to be one in which 10 non-vegetarian residents pool their “personal share” to buy offal in pieces of intestines, honeycomb tripe, hearts and spleens at the new and only butchery in Block 5.

As long as the Water Utilities Corporation keeps its promise to keep it flowing for you, these people would not have to worry about what they would wash down the fat cakes and mokwetjepe with. However, supposing there is water-shedding on September 30, group singing would do nicely in place of an after-meal drink.

Thankfully though, this communist-inspired creativity will not be necessary because traditionally, the whole sum of money allocated to wards is used to buy food in bulk ÔÇô but what do you buy for 7 231 residents with P4 125 in these hard times.

Therefore, what will happen in Block 5 despite the odds is that its ward development committee will buy groceries worth the allocated sum and mass-cook it for the residents – 3296 males and 3935 females.

However, as Rhoda Sekgororoane, the Tlogatloga Ward Councillor reveals, for purposes of independence celebrations residents of the neighbouring Diphetogo Ward across the Western Bypass are considered part of Block 5. In terms of the mathematics above, this addition drags the allocation for each resident way below P1.

Tlogatloga Ward, which falls under a constituency represented by the Leader of the Opposition, Duma Boko, is not the only one whose residents are expected to make merry with so little. According to Sekgororoane, each one of the 32 wards has been allocated the same amount of P4 125, which suggests that the Gaborone City Council budgeted P132 000 for the celebrations. Against this background, BOT50 – the committee coordinating the Golden Jubilee celebrations – has been allocated P100 million which some have complained is being disbursed in an unfair and possibly corrupt manner.

Sunday Standard has carried a story alleging that the committee is a “cesspool of corruption” and the Botswana Gazette has run another story connecting a committee member to a controversially awarded tender worth more than P1 million. Dissatisfaction with BOT50 has hardened so badly that some very senior officials within the Government Enclave are said to be boycotting the committee’s events silently over the way the committee and its political head are discharging their Golden Jubilee mandate.


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