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The forlorn cry of Letlhakeng/Lephephe residents

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Letlhakeng Village. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
As the standard of living amongst Letlhakeng/Lephephe constituents looks bleak, former area member of parliament (MP) Liakat Kablay would not be surprised if he were to lose in the general elections after serving only two terms as a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) legislator.

Now seeking a third term, the BDP candidate has had mixed successes like bringing electricity and supplying water, though not sufficient to his constituents. But beyond that, he feels his achievements are far outweighed by startling level of poverty in the area.

The constituency has a population of 34, 464 people and over 14, 000 have registered to vote.

“I will not be surprised if I were to lose elections because some government officials are failing to deliver. What is happening in this constituency is very painful because we have social workers that are not willing to neither help people nor assess them. The level of poverty is high,” Kablay said.

“Social workers keep on telling people that they should look for jobs when they know that there are no jobs or private companies to employ people. Lephephe and other wards are hard hit because there are no shops or companies that could employ people. People are forced to work for Ipelegeng.”

Kablay also said he is more worried by the fact that he had invited Ministers to his constituency especially the one for Local Government and Rural Development and Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration to assess the situation and solutions to problems troubling the constituency are not forthcoming from the authorities.

“They have not come to the area even once. My plea to them was for the two ministries to find the need to speed up government programmes in my area. My constituents have not benefited much from government programmes. I have been talking about these issues in Parliament. Only last week, 10 people from different villages were given goats under poverty eradication.”

He complained that his area is wide and is not arranged well because most developments are in Letlhakeng and therefore someone cannot travel over 150 km for help. He said they had requested Kweneng District Council to at least build a service centre at Sojwe, but it has since become a white elephant since there are no services for the people.

“For example, if one is forced to make Omang, licences and to formalise marriage vows at District Commissioner’s office, he/she has to travel to Molepolole, which is 125 km away,” he said. A Lephephe resident, Karabo Marumo said investors cannot be attracted to the area as roads were in a bad state.

“Internal roads are very bad. There is only one small shop owned by the MP. Unemployment in

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the area is also high. The maternity ward has long been closed after it was discovered that it had a viral problem.  If one’s labour days are nearer, the person is taken to Molepolole to wait there for delivery for some days. Four villages share an ambulance but the villages are more than 10 km to 15 km apart,” Marumo explained.

Another resident, Goememang Kalagobeng complained that Water utilities Corporation standpipes were not working, yet they had made them to buy water coupons for provision of service. “The pipes can run dry for weeks, but it’s not as bad compared to other years when we could go for a month. We have long applied for government programmes, but nothing has happened and we complained to the MP but there is no change.

Our youth are fighting with elderly people to be employed at Ipelegeng,” Kalagobeng said. At Sojwe, an elderly woman Mpusetsang Kgathe complained that there was serious shortage of medicines at their clinic and most of the time they end up being forced to look for some medication in Molepolole. “Ga re bone mopalamente mme re belaela gore o dirwa ke bophara jwa kgaolo e. Dithabololo di ganelela hela ko Letlhakeng,” Kgathe said.

Gaowe Mabife also complained that developments were slow in the area and lack of jobs was serious. As for both Boatlaname and Botlhapatlou residents, they complained about social workers who fail to assess them and failure by some government employees to assist them with government programmes.

“It is difficult for me to go and vote when I cannot be assisted with any government programmes. I have two children who are living with disability but I have long been assessed but nothing has happened. The area MP knows about my problem,” Ikobameng Keforilwe of Boatlaname said.

Tapologo Moipolai of Botlhapatlou added: “Our road is very bad for someone to access our village and the water is also salty. There are no developments taking place in our village.  The area MP knows all our problems but it seems he does not have answers.”

2014 Parliamentary results

Candidate                        Political Party               Votes

Liakat L. Kablay                BDP                            5265

Kebofentse M. Phetolo       BCP                            0

Mothusi Letlakela              Independent               108

Gordon Mokgwathi            UDC                           4713

Anderson Mathibe             Independent               64

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