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Public transport travel, a nightmare

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Travelling by public transport has turned into a nightmare for most passengers. If it is not the dirty, torn car seats and safety belts, it is the loud music or the overloading. For daily public transport commuters, nothing is more painful than being dressed in classy and fancy wear only to be squeezed in seats simply because the drivers want to make an extra buck by overloading. Overloading is a common phenomenon during rush hours (morning and evenings) because passengers will be having limited options to refuse the unfair treatment.

As if that is not enough, there will be loud music banging in these vehicles, with dysfunctional windows and doors that are a struggle to open. It does not help the passengers that the government recently increased bus fares by 20% effective 1st April 2018. While the development is a good one for the transport business, customers affected by the circumstances feel the pinch. The last time the fares were reviewed was in 2012 and according to Department of Roads, Transport and Safety (DRTS), the adjustment was meant to cater for the high cost and maintenance of the transport industry. Asked about the unpleasing state of public transport locally despite the latest review of bus fares, Acting Director of DRTS Godwin Tlhogo said that they always do inspections every six months to check if all public transport vehicles are roadworthy. He added that there is an inspectorate division that physically checks all passenger transport. He said there are laws and regulations that govern public transport.

Tlhogo said there have been instances when some kombis or even taxis were removed from the road during enforcement operations while others were fined depending on the nature of offences committed. Another DRTS official who preferred anonymity said sometimes drivers try to cheat the system and always borrow/use new car parts during the DRTS inspection and return them to the owners once the process is complete. This explains the many un-roadworthy cars in the market. The official advised that even though drivers are often the targets of blame, the customer also has a part to play. He advised that all should find ways of building a healthy relationship. Meanwhile public transport owners argue that their vehicles are not in a healthy state because passengers themselves vandalise the vehicles. They argued that most customers want to tag their heavy luggage along and they are forced to assist them or run at a loss. Some of these luggages cause the tears found on the car seats and it is expensive to replace on a daily basis.

They argue that most passengers drink and eat inside public transport vehicles, spill and leave the cars dirty. “We try to keep our cars clean everyday, if you go around you will find men busy at work washing their cars because we know that our Professional Driving Permits (PRDP ‘P’) can be revoked if we are careless,” said Jeremiah Lesung who operates on the Mmopane route. Lesung argued that students often make funny markings on the back of the seats and sometimes mess the seats with ink. Responding to the issue of loud music being played in their cars, Setlhare Kobo of Gabane-Game City said customers should be free to openly tell the driver to reduce his radio volume if it is too loud. He said normally it is the younger drivers that get carried away by loud music.

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I broke the law in good faith – Moswaane

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YES I ERRED: Ignatius Moswaane is weary of some within his party, BDP.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane, has his electorates behind him. The maverick MP has recently found himself on the wrong side of the law after circulating a graphic video clip on social media depicting a woman in South Africa being brutally knifed to death.

At a consultative meeting with his constituents at the Leseding Hall on Saturday, he explained that his action was done in good faith. “I am a member of the SADC committee that deals with issues of abuse and harassment relating to women and children. I shared the video on facebook with our parliamentary group. This was to bring about awareness amongst ourselves on gender violence and brutality against women,” he said to the bemused audience. Moswaane, who admitted that he broke the law, swears that, the video was leaked deliberately by his enemies in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to put him into trouble with the law and jeopardise his political career.

The outspoken legislator claimed that when he shared a similar video of an unnamed country in the past, he achieved the desired results because the SADC committee he is a member of, took up the matter and an investigation was made. According to recent media reports, the MP has been viewed with suspicion of disloyalty to President Mokweetsi Masisi given the ongoing feud the state president has with his predecessor Ian Khama. Those looking at him with suspicion have suggested that he was loyal to Khama who is leading a crusade to topple Masisi from power at the general elections this year.

According to Moswaane, some with vested interests in the BDP want him out of the race for Francistown West constituency so that their preferred candidate may contest in his place. “I do not think it is the party. Maybe it is just some individuals in a faction within the party.” After the video was leaked, BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi issued a statement expressing dismay at the circulating video.

The MP however, does not see the video clip incident in isolation. He is convinced that considering his motive of sensitising people of the brutal act, he should have been warned instead of being arrested and his cell phone taken away from him. “It is clear that DIS is looking for something else in my cell phone which has got nothing to do with the video,” said Moswaane who accused the spy agency, DIS and his political opponents in the BDP of working against him. During question and comments time, a woman who introduced herself only as Senjoba, called for financial support for Moswaane should he need the services of a lawyer.

Another speaker, Moalosi said that what was happening to the MP was an indication that no one is safe. “The opposition has always said that DIS is used for witch-hunting. It shows we are also not protected,” he said. Olebile Motsamai called on the people to protect their MP. “As the electorate, you know what to do to end these things,” said Motsamai. The legislator

recounted a number of instances where some of his constituents have come to confess to him that DIS had offered them money to help frame him but they refused. This is not the first time that the MP has accused DIS of being used for political ends. The head of the spy agency, Peter Magosi has, in the past, rubbished Moswaane’s claims that he is being followed.

Moswaane’s collision with the BDP leadership is not new as he has also clashed with the leadership of former president Khama. In 2009 Moswaane contested and won Monarch south ward as an independent candidate after rejecting the primary election results which he found controversial.

In 2013 he and the BDP were disqualified from contesting a by-election by the Independent Electoral Commission. This was after the party had neglected to hear Whyte Marobela who had challenged the primary election results involving himself and Moswaane.

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BEWARE THE BPF

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NOT TRUSTED: The BNF veterans body does not trust anything with BDP roots

Botswana National Front (BNF) Veterans Association is cautioning the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to “tread carefully” regarding a possible working relationship with newly-formed Botswana Patrictic Front (BPF).

“UDC has to tread carefully because BDP never changes and the opposition never learns,” said the Association’s Chairman Patrick Kgoadi ahead of their meeting this weekend.The BPF is the latest breakaway offspring of the ruling party and is backed by a number of former BDP’s disgruntled members among them former president Ian Khama, former minister Biggie Butale and Tati East MP Guma Moyo. At a recent meeting in Serowe, Khama confirmed the membership of Moyo while over this past weekend, Butale insinuated that former minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi was also a member of the new party.

Kgoadi said even though it might be seen to be a good thing to work with BPF, the opposition should vigorously scrutinise the party and its intended purpose as the relationship could backfire and cost the opposition victory in the national polls. The purpose of the Saturday meeting is to discuss the collapsed structures of BNF, preparations for 2019 general elections, developments at UDC and formation of new party BPF.

According to Kgoadi, they have observed that the BNF structures are not as active as they should be especially during the election year.“Our structures used to be more active on election year. This year things are just blurry and this is worrisome. Even at UDC level BNF should be playing a leading role not only in the presidency but across the country. “We always have to be taking a leading role as a party that plays a significant role in uniting opposition parties.

“So as veterans we would be discussing these issues and how we could advise both the BNF and UDC leadership,” said Kgoadi. The veterans have since the formation of the association been at loggerheads with the BNF Central Committee on how things are run both at the BNF and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The veterans have thus been accused by the party leadership of always blowing things out of proportion and failing to use proper party channels when discussing internal matters.

BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa has on several occasions pointed out that the veterans have served the party for long and should know processes and procedures to be followed when addressing internal matters. He expressed concern that the veterans always use channels that are not sanctioned by the party and its constitution. Kgoadi said the BNF central committee has for long been disingenuous and refused to meet them since 2017.

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