In a surprising turn of events, Parliament has passed a motion requesting government to facilitate for residents of Gaborone North farms to have potable water and sewerage facilities.
The motion by Gaborone North legislator, Haskins Nkaigwa, had been abandoned for two consecutive Fridays as the quorum collapsed whenever it was time to vote.
On Friday just as the National Assembly deputy speaker, Kagiso Molatlhegi had announced it was time for voting, Nkaigwa stood up on a point of procedure.
“Mr Speaker I have been told that it is a deliberate move by the BDP MPs to walk out when we have to vote on this motion because they know they will be in trouble if they turn it down.
Please tell them to stay in the House,” he said. Surprisingly when the voting went through, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Members of Parliament held their peace and abstained from voting.
This is despite the fact that BDP legislators during the debate of the motion had already shot it down. Assistant minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Itumeleng Moipisi said the government could not water the area as it is a freehold land and many Batswana still needed water in State and tribal land.
Advancing his motion, Nkaigwa said Gaborone North farms, which form part of Sebele ward, is the only area in Gaborone that is dusty and has no potable water and sewerage system.
“This is a growth area for Gaborone where people buy plots and develop. It is freehold land, which was sold before it could be developed and now people are struggling to build. The government should consider that water is a basic need and helps Batswana. We need to preserve the environment and get rid of pit latrines, which can lead to polluting underground water,” he said.
Nkaigwa called on the government to assist Gaborone North and Moshawa trusts that are making effort to avail water to residents. He said it currently costs P22, 000 for a household to connect water, an amount he said hinders people from developing their property. He said they want a form of assistance from government. Nkaigwa said the residents would bear the cost by gradually paying for the installation of the pipelines over an agreed period of time.
He said the area has over 4,000 residents. Contributing to the motion, Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane shot it down.
“You should look at the bigger picture. A lot of people are waiting to be allocated land, but it has not been serviced. What message will we be communicating when we service freehold land when people all over the country are still waiting,” he said. Nata-Gweta legislator, Polson Majaga also shared the same sentiments.
Moipisi had said his Ministry would not be able to assist the residents.
“I have had this discussion with Nkaigwa and told him that it is impossible as it is for the developer to do so. This can lead to government being in trouble with lawsuits from others who made similar requests and were rejected before.
Therefore, my Ministry will not be able to support this motion,” he said.
Speaking to The Monitor, the ruling party chief whip Liakat Kablay said the BDP caucus never agreed on shunning the motion.
“The quorum did not collapse because of the motion. People always have things to do on Fridays. We never opposed the motion as there are BDP members who stay in the area and therefore we supported the motion,” he said.