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We Mourn With The Nation

MONITOR EDITOR
At the time we wrote this comment, 111 Matsha Senior Secondary School students were battling for their lives in hospitals following a horrific accident that happened on Friday afternoon near Dutlwe.

This accident claimed the lives of seven students when the open truck they were travelling in to their homes overturned. We are informed five students died on the spot while two were certified dead upon arrival at the hospital. These were young lives that were lost while transported in an open truck. Accidents like this have been happening in Botswana over the years.

Decades ago, the government announced that students would no longer be transported in open trucks. We do not know whether the change of policy to transport students in safe mode of transport like buses and combis was abandoned or not. But the truth is, schools especially in rural areas, continue to transport students in open trucks.

There is no reason students should be transported in trucks in this era. This country can afford to buy each school a bus. Every financial year, different ministries, including the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD), return unused billions of Pulas to government. The country cannot claim not to have enough funds to buy buses for schools.

We do not understand why students in urban areas are

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well taken care of compared to their counterparts in rural areas. And fleets of buses are packed unutilised at the Central Transport Organisation offices around the country. May be only students in cities and towns are the only ones deserving comfortable transportation unlike their rural compatriots. And mind you, majority of Matsha students come from the downtrodden families. The families of those who perished, or got injured in the accident had hoped that once their children had acquired education, tomorrow  they will rescue them from the shackles of poverty. But that is now in vain. The students have departed from this earth very painfully and terribly. Majority of them will be confined to wheelchairs for the rest of their lives as they have been condemned to disability. We hope the power that be has learned from this Matsha tragedy. Transporting students in open lorries should be banned in Botswana. Like the rest of Batswana, we plead with our people to help the affected families. We as the paper also join the leaders in sending messages of condolences to the affected families.



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