The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is concerned about the uncertain water and power supply that has gripped the country. What has led to this problem is the failure on the part of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to invest timeously on these strategic sectors. Water and electricity are important and critical both in our private lives and in the growth of the economy. They are basic inputs in economic production.
The Botswana National Front (BNF), a member of the UDC pushed for investment in the power sector and condemned the decommissioning of the Selebi Phikwe power station. We argued then that as a country endowed with so much coal, we should not be importing power. As a strategic commodity, power should not be left to be produced for us by other countries. We also said generating power will create employment and stimulate the local economy.
On the other hand, the BDP government argued that it was cheaper to import power. It allowed profit to overshadow strategic and development priorities. Profit should not be the only factor to consider, we said.
When we talked about the transfer of water from the North to the South we were dismissed as dreamers. Decades later the ruling BDP is running helter-skelter in response to the current water crisis. For days now people in Greater Gaborone have gone without water. This is coming after water rationing that has been in place for sometime.
As a country we are now paying the price of putting in power a party that has no vision. If the BDP had been wise enough to transfer water from the Zambezi and the North Eastern part of the country timeously we would not be in this mess.
As if the mess was not enough, the Owens Corning Scandal and the Morupule B debacle worsened the situation. The Water Utilities Corporation has lost a lot of money and failed to deliver water because of the Owens Corning pipes. The failed Morupule B project has pushed the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) to a point of insolvency. These Parastatal Utility Companies have had their cash-flows affected and have had to be bailed out using taxpayers money. Even after the bail-out they have not delivered fully on their mandates. When political leaders are not prudent with use of state resources, this is what you end up with.
The water and power crisis is coming at a huge cost to the economy. The inconvenience caused is so high. We would have put the infrastructure at a lower price had the BNF advise been acceded to timeously. It is not like the country did not have the resources. In the period from the 80s the economy was doing extremely well attracting names like “the Kuwait of Africa”. During the “lost decade” we became obsessed with having huge foreign reserves and not diversifying our economy with money raised largely from mining.
We take this opportunity to remind Batswana that as long as the BDP is in power we will keep on limping from one scandal to another. The crises are a daily reminder of our not voting wisely. It is payback time for our poor judgement. This is a mistake we should rectify in 2019 by voting for the visionary UDC.
UDC Head of Communications