The Minister of Minerals Energy and Water Resources, Onkokame Kitso Mokaila has dismissed as petty politics, accusations that the government does not want to admit that damming of Notwane River by some business people, Senior government officials and members of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party inclusive has reduced inflow of water into Gaborone Dam, hence its current dryness.
Responding to comments and questions posed by the Kgatleng District Councillors at the Council Chamber, Thursday morning, Mokaila said the dams in question-mentioning that of Ian Kirby by name, had been dug many years ago. Nothing has been said about them up until recently when rainfall subsided, leading to reduction of water level in the Gaborone dam.
“Now opposition party members want to use the unfortunate situation to accuse the ruling party so that the electorates lose confidence in the ruling BDP. Dams that are on the Botswana side of the border are about 200 in number while more are on the South African side. Reduction in rainfall has also left those dams with subsided water levels.
Tsamayang ka tshele ya lona (away with your petty talk),”Mokaila said to Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) predominant Chamber. He said the damming had some positivity in the sense that sand inflow into the Gaborone dam has been significantly reduced, but opposition party members are turning a blind eye to that. Councillor for Pilane, Wellington Senwelo had commented to the effect that the Minister was also aware that damming of the rivers flowing into the dam contributed in the drying up of Gaborone dam. His sentiments were echoed by Modipane of Boseja North who had gone further to request the Minister to come into the open and admit that indeed prominent businessmen and senior government officials and BDP members (bagolo/elders) contributed to the crisis the country found itself in due to Gaborone dam drying up.
Minister Mokaila also quashed it as petty talk Councillor Daniel Palai of Mobodisa ward’s complaint that the government was granted the rights to drill 32 boreholes in the Masama area, though individual Bakgatla farmers were in the past denied the same rights on the grounds that there was insufficient underground water in the same area.
Mokaila’s reason was that priority should be given to the government because the project it undertakes is for the whole nation and for the economic boom. He however admitted that the government’s boreholes often go deeper and possibilities are there for the government’s boreholes negatively affecting those of the farmers. He however hastened to point out the fact that activities of drawing water there at Masama area would be short and therefore cannot pose very serious problems.
He had prior to their comments informed them that the government has drilled 32 boreholes to compliment the North-South carrier project in supplying water to the greater Gaborone which covers Kgatleng.