Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Now police don’t have notepads to write crime reports on

As the “Switzerland of Africa” restores itself to its Third World settings, some police posts now run out of stationery and resultantly, officers can’t write crime reports.

That is what a Maun resident discovered when he reported a case burglary at a neighbour’s house. The neighbour was thousands of kilometres away in the Greater Gaborone area when the burglars attacked. Upon discovering the burglary, the resident reported the matter to a nearby police post where social media-surfing officers told him that they couldn’t take a statement from him because they had run out of stationery. Crime reports at police stations and posts are typically written in occurrence books and investigation diaries as well as on statement forms. It later turned out that the police could also not despatch investigators to the scene because there was no vehicle to transport them. The latter has become all too common across Botswana.

The Maun case is illustrative of decline that is being replicated across the board.

When he was Ngamiland MP, Jacob Nkate told parliament that primary school teachers in his constituency had given up complaining about lack of classrooms and were now complaining about lack of trees under which to teach students. Years later, Tswapong South MP, Oreeditse Molebatsi, asked then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Margaret Nasha, to say when she would provide sport equipment such as shot-put, javelin, discuss to his constituency “as almost all schools have to improvise and use things like plates in lieu of discuss and stones in lieu of shot put.”

When teachers asked for trees under which to teach students and when student athletes in Tswapong South used enamel and copolyester plates as discuss, government healthcare facilities at least had life-saving medication. That is no longer the case. For more than a year now, these facilities have been experiencing what the Leader of the Opposition, Dithapelo Keorapetse, described as “acute shortage” of drugs when he responded to President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s state-of-the-nation address last week. The Selebi Phikwe West MP has credibly alleged that “people are dying” as a result of this shortage. Were it not for supplementary budget funding last year, the Department of Tertiary Education Funding would not have been able to sponsor first-year students.

Botswana may be losing its legendary shine slowly but there is ample visual evidence that such shine is progressively fading.


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