The people of Ngware and surrounding villages' battle with the government over the construction of a junior secondary school has been running for 20 years and the fatigued villagers have nothing to show except broken promises by amongst others, the then vice president (VP) Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Going into the Ngware by-elections following a tie between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) at the national elections, Masisi made a promise before a highly attended rally that the school was in the government plans.
The next day, the state owned Daily News, dated January 27, 2015 ran a headline: Ngware JSS on the Cards.
The Ngware JSS was indeed in the National Development Plan (NDP) 10, and included in the NDP 10 Mid-term review, way before Masisi’s rally.
The school designs were completed and was amongst the now constructed Disaneng JSS and Gerald JSS in Maun and Francistown respectively as well as a yet to be kick-started JSS in Gantsi Township. According to the NDP 10 Mid-term review, Ngware JSS was supposed to start construction alongside Gerald JSS. It never happened.
The school was gazetted in the Republic of Botswana Government Gazette of December 27, 2013 and ‘Tender No.MOE/MTC/DTS/6563/13-14 for Electrical, Installation and Site Reticulation to the Proposed Community Junior Secondary School at Ngware,’ published. Related community consultations were conducted in different fora and Kgotla, for community buy in.
It appears the VP missed the memo. In 2014, the Daily News reported that Kweneng District Council had deferred Ngware JSS indefinitely.
Immediately after seeing the article, a hastened JSS village committee was formed comprising of Chiefs, VDC chairpersons, the then area councillor and Ngware youth, drawn from the four villages.
They petitioned the Permanent Secretary (P.S) and Minister of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) on July 7, 2014.
The then P.S in the MoESD Richard Matlhare explained to the angry committee that the school was indeed scrapped from NDP 10 and NDP 11. The hunger for such development saw each VDC member contributing BWP 300.00 towards fuel and lunch and hit the road to MoESD
It is 2018 and there is still no sign of the JSS in Ngware nor plans indicating the intention.
Ngware, a village located in the heart of the Kweneng District (in the now Letlhakeng/Lephepe Constituency) is approximately 70km North of Molepolole and 42km North- East of Letlhakeng. The village is surrounded by three villages; Botlhapatlou, Malwelwe and Diphuduhudu.
The population of the four villages, according to the 2011 census, necessitated the need for developments such as a community junior secondary school.
The 2011 Botswana Population and Housing Census recorded that Ngware and associated localities has a population of 1,500, Malwelwe 1, 183, Diphuduhudu 535 and Botlhapatlou (2, 009); four villages totalling 5, 227.
The developments found in all the mentioned villages are basic; clinic, Kgotla, primary school, telecommunication connection, water and electricity, although Diphuduhudu is not electrified.
There is no junior school in all the mentioned villages. All the villages are linked by a gravel road. The need for a JSS at Ngware was necessitated by the distance students’ travelled for their secondary school at Sojwe, Matsheng CJSS (almost 120km) and Salajwe, Lempu CJSS (also around 132km) away.
It affected their academic performance, social and psychological well-being since as boarders they stay away from their parents for long periods; use dilapidated hostel facilities, ablutions and are not feeding properly.
It was around the mid-2000s that the residents of Ngware expressed their need for a JSS to the political leadership.
It was a welcome communal dream, not only for the people of Ngware, but shared by Botlhapatlou, Malwelwe and Diphuduhudu residents.
The school was envisioned to create jobs, economically empower local businesses through procurement as well as attract more developments such as tarred road and community hall.
*Buriel Motlhanka is a resident of Ngware and a contributor at Community Files.