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Let's join hands with gov’t to fight Covid-19 threat

I applaud government on its decision to close schools.

The move was overdue but that is not the issue, really. What is important, is that government listened to concerns expressed by many Batswana, introspected on its earlier decision, and took a corrective step. It is not in every issue that government will agree with the population and with social or other commentators. Government, as some have said, has the benefit of experts who inform its decisions and approaches in every issue. Let us remember though that many things still go wrong in government. Only a fool will sleep across the rail line just because a Botswana Railways engineer has assured them that the train will fly over them.  It is purely commonsensical. To hear party apologists insulting people for expressing their opinions on the closure of schools just conveyed the deplorable state of our politics. In urgent matters of national security, there is no BDP nor UDC; no protestant nor catholic. We are all citizens, bound together by a common need to protect our children and our nation as a whole. I am convinced, more than ever, that political education should be taught in primary schools, somewhere around standard four. It must begin with a basic subject: COUNTRY FIRST; PARTY SECOND.  I believe we need a national creed we can recite at every gathering and by which we can all swear loyalty to country. They have it in the United States. Perhaps that is why they have such patriotic fervor.

And then there are those who are more than eager to profit from the calamity. There is of course, no problem with business servicing the market niches created or expanded by the corona epidemic. No one says that business should be giving sanitizers for free. The military industrial complex sell arms at a time of war and funeral parlous sell caskets to mourners at times of tragedy. But there is no denying that capitalism is a system inherently devoid of humanity, morality and ethics. It is based of greed and corruption. It cannot self-regulate and thrives on exploitation of the poor. It is for government to ensure that its effects are mitigated. Government must ship in necessary supplies to sell or provide free to the people just as it does with condoms. Where necessary, government may even do price control.  The Shylocks of this world, should not be allowed to hold the nation at ransom. Government needs to have a meeting with business stakeholders on this issue.

Most importantly, there is individual citizen responsibility. This is, in my view, of foremost importance in fighting the pandemic. Government cannot police our lives by the minute as individuals. We owe it

to our families and loved ones to protect them and to stay alive and free from infection. A things like go kukuna go fele bagaetsho kana go name go emisitswe nakwana. Mogare o kelemile. That is what social distancing is, in part, about. Further, let us ensure that we follow advice from health officials on all measures necessary to help fight the threat.

A friend asked me to remind the public that the closure of schools does not mean that children should be all over, in overcrowded spaces like shopping malls, drinking Twizza with straws. She is right. The closure is intended to minimise exposure and it makes no sense to kill exposure at schools and then to open another front at home. It is every parent’s responsibility to ensure that children stay home or they will, in time, be infected and will take the virus back to the schools. Children must stay home and parents must ensure that. This must be explained to the children even before they leave schools on March 22, 2020.

A time such as this, is a time of resource scarcity as people begin to buy out of panic. It is important to ensure that we all purchase necessary items like hand sanitizers, soaps, face masks and gloves, responsibly. Let us not buy more than we really need. By so doing, we are denying a part of the population necessary protection and by extension, denying ourselves. We float or sink together. Panic buying raises prices as it creates needless scarcity. Retailers should do their part in limiting numbers of items that can be purchased by an individual.  Business has a role to play in fighting the threat.

Oh, yes. And then, there is the Water Utilities Corporation. I am not getting off the backside of this shameless, looting entity until they do something about their conduct. I cannot imagine a corporation more important than this one in our lives as Batswana, yet so ethically and morally decadent. Just as government intensifies calls for the citizenry to embark upon necessary hygiene standards, they launch a massive water disconnection campaign intended to hold debtors at ransom.  At this point I really don’t care that anyone has not paid their bill. The nations is at risk. Water is needed in homes not just to drink, but as part of government’s non-pharmaceutical intervention measures. When water is made unavailable, the effort against the virus is frustrated. Why not temporarily suspend disconnections as government battles with the threat. This looting corporation is on the wrong side of the war against the virus, and should be called to order.

Chief On Friday



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