Thursday, July 18, 2024

The accident that killed 7 children puts the nation to shame

The outpouring of public horror at a road accident in which 7 school kids lost their lives is understandable.

There is no excuse that over a hundred kids and their luggage could have been packed into a truck made for carrying cattle especially after Government came up with a policy forbidding carrying students in open trucks which caused several similar accidents in the past.

The fact that Government has continued to carry students in such trucks especially in such high numbers is a manifestation of the low premium that those entrusted with the care of these kids generally continue to place on human life. The amateurish and haphazard response of our emergency services has added to the pain caused by tragedy.

If anything has come out of this accident it has been to expose the low premium that our authorities attach to human life.

But also exposed is the extent of resource shortage in our frontline emergency services. After the accidents, the injured were driven over a long distance to the nearest health facility when the ideal arrangement would have been to fly them.

The safest and fastest would have been to airlift the injured.

Botswana Government has a fleet of helicopters ÔÇô inside the police service but more in the military that could have been mobilized to save life.

That did not happen.

Instead our political leaders resorted to face saving theatrics that were calculated to get political mileage out of what has by all accounts been a harrowing tragedy. 

The situation has not been helped by the wobbling police service which does not even want to answer basic questions the answers to which should be apparent even to a layman.

To illustrate this, on Monday morning a police officer from the public relations unit caricatured himself by not even answering if the accident had been a result of a tyre burst. Not at all a stupid question given that on that fateful Friday temperatures hovered in the region of over 41 degrees Celsius, made worse by what from the look of it was an overload of over a hundred school children.

The officer said the police were still investing to find out if there had been a tyre burst.

How silly!

Our Police Service has become a shadow of its past self.

The quality of the Botswana Police service has degenerated to the levels of early 1990s and before.

This should be an em,barrassment to those who worked so hard to overhaul the police from that low era.

This would not have happened during the days when Norman Moleboge was police Commissioner.

Today police officers are nothing more than embedded acolytes of the political establishment.

They see their first responsibility as being to protect, placate and pander to the political elite.

Norman Moleboge’s efforts to professionalise the police service have now been truly reversed.

Moleboge’s ambition as a Police Commissioner was to inculcate the ethos of service among police officers.

He wanted to create a service to which the public will look up to as a safe sanctuary.

By the time he retired he had achieved that.

But his achievements have been reversed because people nowadays ascend into high ranks of the police service, not out of meritocracy but rather because of the promise they hold out to hide incidents of impropriety by those in power.

We send our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the children who died in this accident.

Our steadfast belief remains that this was an avoidable accident.

It is our hope and prayer that those who perished in this accident will one day find justice.

May the souls of these kids rest in peace!


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