Some said it is not a well considered opinion, but I am back with it and saying you just might eat humble pie now that the truth is coming out: the US Embassy has been said by Minister Kitso Mokaila to have refused to have an independent regulatory authority permission to test the same water. Note that the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) had done tests after the complaint and confirmed the water was safe to drink. Now, why did they refuse to have further tests from an independent authority appointed by the Botswana Bureau of Standards? And you tell me this, why won't they name the bacteria they say was found in the water as is customary in experiments and research studies? I am not accusing them of anything at the moment but they need to be sensitive and respect other people. The problem with cases such as this one is simply that of people believing they can play big brother all the time even with things that can tarnish the reputation of others.
I doubt Ambassador Tebelelo Seretse could do tests on the water in Washington DC and publicise results to say it is not safe to drink without an outcry about independent review by half a dozen agencies of the same results. Why is it that in our case they would refuse further scrutiny?
The very essence of research and experiments is that when one replicates the same they should arrive at the same or something close to similar results for us to pronounce such findings to be reliable. How then do we know that the Embassy tests were reliable if they will not allow others to verify their claims? The next time around foreigners (note westerners especially) choose a holiday destination they will worry about the safety of our water.
The strides we have made towards achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals such as access to safe potable water may be affected by such reports. Remember we are also at an infant stage of our diamond beneficiation plans and this sector is expected to attract more people from abroad - the last thing they want to be hearing is that they must not swallow the water even when bathing since it is not safe unless boiled. General panic among consumers too and the spirit of the nation may be dampened by such reports. On this basis, the US Embassy if genuine and cordial in those claims ought to have let an independent authority test the water before making conclusions and telling the world our water is not safe.
If it is true they refused to grant permission then our American friends must realise that while we love them and cherish the assistance they accord us in many sectors including health and trade, we are neither fools nor children.
Botswana is a republic with limitations and challenges but very much a country that was built by men and women not so much unlike those who built America. People who loved their country as much and would hate to be getting allegations others are not quite allowed to verify. Respect suggests they should have allowed further tests before releasing some cautionary public statement that engenders lack of confidence in our potable water.
Our reputation is at stake here and all of you cheerleaders who have not even taken the trouble to familiarise yourselves with the statements and charges from both sides need God. What happened to national pride? See, we have been engulfed by this negativity about our own country and everything associated with it so much that we even fail to do the basics: why are you all taking the US Embassy report as though it is the gospel truth?
I have said it before that waterborne bacteria at levels that are said to be 'unsafe' for human consumption would surely by now have led to some health situation. And the WUC has done tests and found all is well, and the Botswana Bureau of Standards had confirmed the same. On what basis then should we believe the US Embassy report? Simply that they are Americans? That clearly would be lame.
Mokaila has said it that after receiving reports of contaminated water from the US Embassy, WUC investigated the complaint by testing all Gaborone storage reservoirs and all US embassy residences in the query. I have continued drinking this water, most of you have as well and you are all well: so what? Will there be an epidemic 50 years from now as a result? Over to you.
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