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Lockdown diaries

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With the country cautiously easing the lockdown restrictions originally enforced on April 3, The Voice’s DANIEL CHIDA talked to Members of Parliament from around the country to find out what roles they played in their areas during these trying times.

Molebatsi Shima Molebatsi – MP for Mmadinare

Initially MPs and Councillors were not included in the Covid-19 Task Forces, neither at district or village level.

Instead of taking a back seat, we consistently asked why political leadership was not included and that put pressure on government to include us.

I am currently dealing with some suspicious corrupt procurement deals in Mmadinare constituency, mostly in my constituency under Bobirwa Sub District.

There are projects that are associated with Covid 19 and with procurement done on an emergency basis. That has opened a can of worms in my constituency.

I am currently dealing with a situation where contractors from other constituencies are doing work in my constituency while we have capable local service providers in the constituency.

This week, together with Assistant Minister of Local Government, Sethabelo Modukanele, District Commissioner and Council Secretary we toured the council projects and the situation is not good at all!

In Mmadinare village, where I spent time because of lockdown, I was able to bring together businesses and form sector associations with steering committees in the following sectors: Construction industry, Agriculture specifically in Horticulture sector and Retail and General Supply.

We have also developed SMS and Whatsapp groups specific to each sector, where we conduct virtual meetings to discuss challenges, opportunities and programs available in Botswana.

This is a model I am spreading to the other 10 villages in my constituency.

I also started working on Local Economic Development Strategy for each village, starting with the main Mmadinare village.

The LED strategy is progressing well and in Mmadinare I have formed a LED Strategy team headed by a renowned Economist, Sennye Obuseng.

The LED Strategy is starting with Local Economic Assessment, which will do a study on local/village economic capability including demographic profiles, natural resources available in the village, community capabilities, institutions and the business environment.

At the end of it, each village will have a Local Development Advisory Board that will advise the village leadership and the communities in general on what resources are available to tap in at both community and individual level to develop economy of the village and businesses.

Yandani Boko – MP for Mahalapye East

I have been attending the Covid-19 briefings at Mahalapye Council Chambers every Monday from 10am until 12 noon.

Further, I have been working hand in hand with the Councillors of Mahalapye East in visiting families who did not receive food rations and assisting them in any manner we could.

Yandani Boko

I sourced funds from my friends and we supplied the people in the constituency with firewood, food and sanitary towels.

In the past few days I visited families who lost their loved ones and offered words of comfort to them.

I continue to urge our people to assist those in need and, as always I say, ‘Ba dipitse bonang ba dinao’.

Goretetse Kekgonegile – MP for Maun East

The post lockdown period has been hectic for me as a parliamentarian. The Food Relief distribution queries consumed most of my time.

I had to run around linking needy households with welfare workers and donors for food.

We still experience household’s food shortages and extend requests for donations to alleviate the sad situation.

Goretetse Kekgonegile

Workers wage subsidy, unlawful retrenchments, forced leaves and none salary payments exacerbated the poor employer/employee relations in the constituency.

I had to intervene continuously on behalf of workers.

Covid-19 protocols dictate continuous washing of hands which is problematic in areas and settlements outside the WUC water map. Hence my Councillors and I had to mobilise tanks for bowsing.

We had to provide guidance on the Council/Hawkers standoff concerning Maun Old Mall trading which also calls for a long-term solution.

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