Saleshando Calls Mohembo Bridge ‘Unwise Investment’

Mohembo bridge
Mohembo bridge

Leader of Opposition (LoO) in Parliament, Dumelang Saleshando says the construction of the state-of-the-art Mohembo Bridge on a poor road stretch is an unwise investment.

In his response to President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s State of the Nation (SONA) address last week, Saleshando said more investment should have gone into the development of roads first.

“Government needs to invest in developing our roads. Constructing world-class bridges like Mohembo that lead to no roads or pothole-infested roads is not a wise investment,” he said.

The stretch of road before and after the Mohembo Bridge, which leads to the Okavango, is in a poor state. Saleshando also called for the construction of a dual carriageway along the A1 Highway to save lives.

Even though the traffic police have been blaming the rise in road fatalities on drivers’ attitudes and behaviours, Saleshando believes the construction of A1 dual carriageway will save many lives.

“If the government can consider turning the A1 into a dual carriageway, road accidents that usually lead to death could significantly drop. Moreover, the construction of this road will create lots of job opportunities for Batswana if indeed this government cares about job creation,” he said.

Furthermore, Saleshando said roads leading to major tourist destinations such as Nata-Maun, Maun-Sehithwa proceeding to Mohembo need to be redone but sadly there have been numerous promises on when these roads would be constructed of which none have seen the light of the day.

He pointed out that back in 2018 during a kgotla address in Maun, the President promised residents the construction of Nata-Maun. The President even told the kgotla meeting that funds were already sourced from the Chinese government, but that promise never materialised.

Saleshando said as if that was not enough the Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane further informed Parliament that the same road will be constructed through funds from the consolidated fund.

“In his SONA address last year, the President contradicted the Vice President by informing Parliament that the consolidated fund will not be utilised for the construction of the road, but rather the road will be built through Public Private Partnership (PPP) funding. One year later, the President is still quiet about this project,” Saleshando said.

He added that instead of Parliament shifting the focus towards the construction of lodges for the President at Okavango and Gantsi, they should consider constructing roads and saving lives. He stated that this is the time for the government to announce the sort of construction projects in which citizen-owned companies will not have a stake of less than 50%.

“Roads are a long term investment and payback through increased trade, efficient movement of goods and services and lower costs of doing business. Roads are also able to pay for their maintenance through tollgates, but tollgates are however not an option for roads that are worn out,” he said.

Recently, the Minister of Transport and Communications, Thulaganyo Segokgo revealed that 2,139 people have died on the roads in the last five years with the most outstanding cases occurring on the A1 Highway, with 415 fatalities from the registered 284 road accidents.

Editor's Comment
Everyone should be on high alert

Close to half a million people in the country have been fully vaccinated while over 800,000 have received their first doses. Botswana has tackled tough hurdles, but the race is far from over.Batswana are gearing up for the holidays and there will be a lot of movement across the country and outside the country. Social gatherings are back in full force and now more than ever, people should observe COVID-19 protocols.Our neighbouring country South...

Have a Story? Send Us a tip
arrow up