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Truck Drivers Deserve Our Respect

The situation with truck drivers could spiral out of control and have devastating consequences if not handled properly.

Indeed, the State of Emergency brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic makes for a scary time for all of us.

Under the uncertainties of this era, some people are starting to show signs of panicky behaviour, which is quite understandable, considering the havoc that COVID-19 has caused around the world. As of Saturday afternoon, statistics taken from Coronavirus Live Tracker showed that the number of confirmed cases globally stood at over five million, while the number of deaths was way over 300,000. While Botswana, on Saturday, was still at 30 confirmed cases, the increase in the cases is quite even more frightening looking at the way the virus is spreading quickly in other countries. Last week two truck drivers tested positive for COVID-19, something that brought out the best and worst in people. While most social media users posted positive messages, wishing the drivers speedy recoveries, and acknowledging the important role they have been playing as essential workers, a handful of individuals chose to act like headless chickens and try to blame the drivers and abuse them labelling them as carriers.

Really now?

As a country we have a number of challenges, but perhaps the immediate one is that we depend heavily on food imports.

Has anyone stopped to think about what would happen if these truck drivers were to go on strike and decide that they will not be taking on

the Botswana route? Not only will we die of starvation, we will also get to a point of running short of needed supplies such as fuel, medicine amongst others.

We are heavily reliant on our neighbours for a number of commodities, hence the long queues often experienced by truck drivers at our borders. Anyone who uses any of our points of entry will attest to the fact long that queues of trucks is not a new thing at our borders, even though the situation has worsened due to the regulations put in place to fight the coronavirus.

Those individuals in the habit of talking without thinking should just keep their peace and let the government find an acceptable way of dealing with the issues of truck drivers entering the country to deliver essential goods.

After one of the truck drivers tested positive for COVID-19, the State moved swiftly to try and contain the virus, but some of the measures put in place do not sit well with the drivers, who say the Botswana government officials are mistreating them. On Saturday, some of the drivers were threatening to down tools, imploring the Botswana government to pick up goods at the borders. A decision was reached that truck drivers should be tested and escorted in and out of the country, which is now adding onto the usual delays experienced by the drivers.


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