The recent good rains that left the Gaborone Dam full will remain in our memories for decades to come. The President has even declared a National Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated annually in recognition of the rains that we have long waited for.
However, the rains have left many broken hearts in terms of the inconvenience caused due to the damage caused to property. The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has announced the disturbing figures of families affected by the floods, and those who have had to be evacuated from their homes.
However, what is disturbing is the apparent poor preparedness from the authorities to deal with the damage caused to roads. Whilst part of the A1 highway has been closed for two weeks now, it is regrettable that there has not been any assurance from the authorities on when the situation will be corrected. This is a road that is critical in supply of many goods from neighbouring South Africa, and is used by thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of motorists everyday who travel between the two towns of Lobatse and Gaborone. Lobatse, home to the country’s second busiest High Court, is the heartbeat of the country’s Administration of Justice. It is inconceivable to think that motorists are now forced to travel over 150 kilometres to reach Gaborone from Lobatse, the towns which are just 60km apart. Secondly, the rains have left ‘ponds’ of potholes on
roads but there seems to be no urgency from either the Roads Department to fill them up to curb road accidents, neither are there any attempts to caution motorists where the potholes are.
These are a serious threat to the motorists’ lives. The aforementioned are a clear indication of lack of preparedness and full appreciation of what disasters entail. Two weeks after Cyclone Dineo has passed, we should not be subjected to what we are currently going through.
We are a dry country that does not have the luxury of cursing rain, and looking at the slow pace at which we do things, we are left with many questions on whether we can survive a prolonged rainy season of the same magnitude as the current rainy season. It is clear that any form of rain has potential to bring our country to a standstill for two weeks or more.
We cannot allow a weak Cyclone Dineo to leave such a legacy of humiliation when we have resources and brains to address its aftermath as a matter of urgency. Communication is also critical during times of disaster and NDMO has not satisfied that requirement.