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Boatle-Gaborone road project at just over 53%

Joe Brown

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A GRADE SEPARATION JUNCTION: The Boatle Interchange, which will look somewhat like this, has been under construction since June

Motorists using the Boatle-Gaborone road should brace themselves for another seven months of inconvenience after the Ministry of Transport and Communications confirmed completion date for the whole project to be April 5 next year.

This however, will only be so if things go according to plan, with no further delays as was the case at some point during the course of construction last year. The construction project that commenced on March 24 last year entails an upgrade of the existing 23 kilometre stretch between Game City and Boatle from a single carriageway road of two lanes to a dual carriageway road – bitumen standard – of four lanes.

Also included is the Boatle interchange project which will be the second of its kind to be constructed in the country after the one in Francistown, commonly known as spaghetti. The grade separation junction at Boatle is beginning to take shape, with construction beams and scaffolding already showing that traffic going directly between Gaborone and Lobatse will flow uninterrupted at ground level, while vehicles coming out of Ramotswa to Gaborone are set to drive overhead before going off ramp into the A1 road.

Construction on the road has since last year caused frustrations on commuters whose trips between Gaborone and Ramotswa have slowed from taking 30 minutes to 90 minutes, with those proceeding to Otse, Lobatse and Mogobane taking even longer.

The closure of the Boatle intersection in June made matters worse as the diversion roads have resulted in a traffic nightmare. A sizeable number of commuters from both Lobatse and Ramotswa have since resorted to using the morning commuter train traveling between Lobatse and Gaborone in the mornings and in the evenings.

In addition, construction of the grade separated junction has forced a relocation of the main Boatle taxi stop to an open dusty patch across the A1 road, a development that has not gone down well with both taxi operators and passengers.

The aggrieved felt the relocation was done without consultation and that the location to the new mini terminal posed a risk to the lives of passengers, especially under the cover of both morning and evening darkness.

At completion, the road is expected to cut down on congestion, improve safety and even see traffic move faster especially at the Boatle junction where the area had over the years been seen to slow down movement and even cause fatal road accidents.

This was more pronounced during peak hours, and the police in Ramotswa had begun to camp there to aid traffic flow on high-density days. Speaking to The Midweek Sun in an interview about the road recently, Ramotswa Police boss Superintendent Keogile Tau decried the current congestion but said he found comfort in knowing that soon the road will be safer and user-friendly.

According to Thato Moapare, Public Relations Manager in the transport and communications ministry, progress on the road at the end of last month had been at 53 percent. This she said was against a planned 62 percent. Among the issues that caused delays on the road were the late acquisition of burrow pits as well as the late relocation of services at Boatle junction and Kgale.

The project, which is fully funded by government to the tune of P1.069 billion also includes construction of two bridges over Tloane and Metsimaswaane rivers. The project is part of government’s Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) initiative and was awarded in February 2017 to Consolidated Contractors Company of Kuwait, as well as China State Construction and Engineering Corporation.

Supervising consultants are Bothakga Burrow Botswana. As at April this year, the number of people employed on the project stood at 522, of which 489 are Botswana citizens and 33 are expatriates.

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Botswana urged to sign Maputo

Keletso Thobega

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Botswana is one of the five countries that have been advised to sign the Maputo Protocol. Botswana, Egypt and Morocco are the only three African countries that have not signed this Protocol. Adopted in 2003 and implemented in 2005, the Maputo Protocol is a ground-breaking protocol on women and girls’ human rights, both within Africa and beyond.

It compensates for the shortcomings in the 1981 African Charter with respect to women and girls rights. It includes 32 articles on women and girls’ rights, and also provides an explicit definition of discrimination against women, which was missing in the African Charter.

The Maputo Protocol defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life.”

The State of African Women Report 2018 stipulates that more still needs to be done to implement laws and commitments to the rights of women and girls in African societies. While there has been significant improvements in addressing issues affecting women and girls over the years, the report notes that commitment to girls and women’s right is still lagging behind.

The report highlights that:
“Three in five countries in Africa do not criminalise rape, young women aged 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa are 2.5 times more likely to be infected by HIV in comparison to men in the same age group, more than half of maternal deaths worldwide occur in sub-Saharan Africa and that gender based violence and sexual assault still affects women more”.

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Mama Rampa, the Good

Yvonne Mooka

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NOBLE CALLING: Martha Rampa on a mission to rescue the underprivileged

Martha Rampa, project manager at AAP Home Based Care and Family Life Programme quit her nursing job over ten years ago to attend to the needs of orphans, poor and sick.

AAP has 3119 orphans and underprivileged children from South East, Kweneng, Kanye and Kgalagadi districts. The Non-Governmental Organisation aims at supporting, providing food, clothing, shelter, education, nursing care, counselling and supporting destitute, terminally ill patients and orphaned children.

According to Rampa, the thrust of the practice is the link between the patient and the clinical management services. “It is a person-centred approach, which ensures that patients receive the appropriate service in a supportive and effective manner. Destitute and orphaned children have over time become integral part AAP programmes,” she said.

Last Saturday, she organised an appreciation dinner for donors. It was a colourful event where beneficiaries had also come to testify about the way their lives have changed since they were enrolled.

One of the young girls said that she had given up on life as she was from a poor family. The under 15 girl said that through AAP, she managed to continue and is exceling at school. A young man under 20 said that he was moved from a settlement where he could not focus on his studies because of his family background.

AAP put him through a different school that has boarding. “At AAP, we call her mama Rampa. She is our mother and we are so blessed to have her,” he said at the event in Gaborone.

The primary aim of AAP is to rehabilitate and develop children in difficult circumstances such as orphaned children, street children, economically poor and socially oppressed children and work for the eradication of child labour and child exploitation.

Rampa said the vision is to help and give many more children a real and loving home which helps them to live and grow up to be free, healthy and independent individuals; to influence behavioural change of individuals, especially those in the realm of sex and family life and to introduce a change that will bring a transformation, which alleviates the impact of HIV/Aids infection and stops the spread of the virus within the community.

She said there were local companies that had committed themselves to giving the children food after every two weeks. Through her gift of counselling, she also assists with providing emotional and spiritual support including counselling to orphans, destitute, terminally ill and the poor. She also prays for them.

She said that since the project started in 2000, the focus was on the care of HIV/AIDS patients. Volunteers were trained to take care of terminally ill patients in their homes. “Due to lack of funds in supporting the volunteers, for three years only 45 were full time serving in the project with great results.

“A networking relationship was established with Ministry of Health/AIDS department and Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs as well as other NGOs like BOCAIP, Clinics around Gaborone and Church leaders. We effectively communicated our mission to our leaders like Counsellors, Members of Parliament and diKgosi in the areas where we are operating,” she said.

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