Sunday, September 27, 2020

We wish all Batswana a safe Independence Holidays period!

We feel duty bound to join other commentators and various media outlets who, throughout this week, have churned out swathes of editorial space dedicating it to safety in our roads during these Independence Holidays.

The latest statistics released by the Botswana Police Service indicate that compared to the previous years, this year has had a high number of road accidents, which, needless to say, have caused losses of life and destruction of property.

History teaches us that for various reasons, it is always during the public holidays that the number of road accidents goes up decidedly.

One of the reasons is that it is during this time that a lot of people choose to travel as they take short breaks from their regular schedules.

It has also been found that it is also during these times that people over indulge in alcoholic beverages.

We call on the drivers to cooperate with the law enforcement officers as well as other officials who man the roads during these busy times.

We call on the road users to be courteous to each other.
We call on the drivers to reduce their speed.

Rather than striving to arrive as quickly as is possible we call on drivers for them to take interval rests in the course of their journeys.

Such rests have proved to offer the body a chance to regain alertness that is necessary for drivers.
We also call on the road users to observe and obey the road signs.

More importantly, we urge the road users especially the drivers not to drink and drive.

The Government of Botswana has gone to tremendous lengths to reduce accidents on our roads.

One feature for which, as a people, we should always be grateful to our government is the decision to introduce highway cattle patrols.

This is a costly but worthy exercise which has gone a long way towards saving lives.
Resources allowing, we call on government to roll out these patrols to cover the entire country.

We should tighten the laws against cattle owners who leave their livestock to stray into our roads.

Given the recklessness of some of our cattle owners, we have a serious problem differentiating such people from people who drive under the influence of alcohol.

The magnitude of trauma and misery caused by the two groups is the same.

It is a matter of deep sorrow that the lives that continue to perish more as a result of road accidents are mainly of young people who are still not only economically active but also needed most to take this country to another level.

In this regard we call on the authorities, especially government and the alcohol industry to come up with mutually acceptable interventions that will target this particular group.

Experience from elsewhere indicates that a National Alcohol Policy would go a long way in helping the country to confront this very serious national problem.

In that spirit, we deem it as most unfortunate that instead of hammering an acceptable solution, the two parties that should be working together and in harmony have become belligerents that are tearing against each at the courts of law, thereby wasting not just money but also valuable time.
In the meantime, the carnage, most of it attributable to alcohol abuse, continues.

It is our hope that whatever the outcome of the court case, Botswana will in the end have a National Alcohol Policy that will address a problem which everyone is agreed exists.

In this context we hope that the court case between KBL and Government will in no way derail or delay the adoption of the policy, the process of setting it up, we learn is far ahead.

Having said that we wish all Batswana and the State President a happy and peaceful Independence Holidays that have no negative incidents in our roads.

May God save Botswana!

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.