Saturday, July 2, 2022

Once again where is Morupule “B”?

The frequent power cuts that the entire county is now experiencing should, on a general scale, be of no big surprise because, being winter, there is a higher usage of electricity.

There have also been reports that the South African power utility, Eskom, on whom we rely for close to 90 percent of our national needs, has had to carry out repairs on one facility that directly supplies Botswana’s national grid.

Be that as it may, one question that we still have to ask ourselves and those in authority is: where is Morupule “B”?

When the project was started, it was sold to the nation as a panacea to all of the country’s electricity needs.

As it is, Morupule B may turn out to be the source of all our country’s energy problems.
Not only has the multi-billion Pula project suffered heavy delays, there also are reports that the project had along the way become a cash cow for consultants, including lawyers, resulting in a small fraction going into the real construction process.

We have nothing against the involvement of lawyers in a complex, large and intricate project such as Morupule B. In fact, the involvement of lawyers is vital as it allows for smooth flow of contractual obligations as well.

What we, however, have a problem with is when the lawyers are now a source of intrigue and chicanery as is reported to have been the case in Morupule “B”.

It is a source of immense shame that to this date, Botswana government has not seen it fit to do an audit of how delays at Morupule B, together with the resultant outages, will in the overall affect Botswanas’s economy, especially small businesses.

It is equally unpardonable that BOCCIM, which calls itself the voice of business, seems to be too keen to run after government by not doing its part to extract information from government so as to empower small businesses on what to expect from this point on.

Is it any wonder that some of the skeptics have been unkind enough to say BOCCIM is actually an extension of government?

But that is not the intention of this commentary.

The intention, rather, is to continue asking the question we have asked before which is that other than the delays, who has been held accountable?

There is a culture of impunity, which has, over the last five years or so, cost this country very dearly.

Projects have been left unfinished yet nobody is liable.

There are many signs that we actually could be sliding into an abyss of a failed state.
We should guard against it.

As a country, we should do things differently, not least because diamonds, which have always provided revenue cover which acted as a buffer that hid away incompetence, corruption and poor productivity, are no longer able to do their traditional role of acting as a performance enhancing drug.

Unlike the airport at Gaborone, or the stadia across the country, that affect only a limited number of people, delays at Morupule B will have far reaching ramifications because of the number of people and businesses affected.

The effects will take long to be healed because many businesses would have closed as a result.
The Botswana Power Corporation has in the meantime gone AWOL.

They do not bother anymore to issue a timetable for the outages.

It is a sign of how far down the tube we have plunged that not a single executive at BPC or the board, for that matter, has resigned, if not for accepting responsibilities then for showing moral conscience that this unfolding tragedy happened under their watch.

Batswana should ask more questions on Morupule B because we certainly deserve better.

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