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TAKING A CALL: Moswaane is a worried and busy man

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The system’s not working!

Moswaane calls for improved Food Relief programme

Francistown West Member of Parliament (MP), Ignatius Moswaane has expressed deep misgivings with the current Covid-19 Food Relief programme.

The maverick legislator has faulted the programme for excluding many families and putting food into the hands of those who don’t really need it, while skipping those that desperately do.

In an open letter to President Mokgweetsi Masisi dated 1 May, Moswaane warned that poor communities in rural area were starving to death.

“They have nothing to put on the table, they are missing all three meals in a day,” noted the BDP back-bencher, who was extremely careful in his wording and was quick to congratulate Masisi for the ‘good work against Covid-19’, describing His Excellency as ‘the shield of the nation’.

However, despite his praise, Moswaane went on to write, “It is now over 39 days and some families are yet to be assisted with food…. What is happening amounts to Human Rights abuse, because people are locked inside their houses, they do not have money to buy food, old, poor, young and disabled people suffering and it takes a long time for them to be assessed and helped accordingly.”

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The Francistown legislator also declared his concern that out of a population of over 2 million, only 300, 000 have been assessed by Social Workers.

“The question is how’re the rest of the population surviving when they are in a lockdown/extreme social distancing. 1,7 million of Batswana are not accounted for during this difficult period.”

In a follow-up interview with The Voice on Tuesday, Moswaane went into greater detail concerning his grievances with the Food Relief programme’s current format.

The system's not working!
Letter

He noted that in multi-residential areas, people receive the same food hampers regardless of the number of households in the yard, i.e a yard with three households will be given the same hamper as a yard with one household. Similarly, a family of ten receives the same hamper as a family of three.

“This is wrong. Multi-residentials and extended families must be given enough food as opposed to the current system,” stressed Moswaane, adding he was worried about unemployed civil servants who are excluded from the Food Relief programmes and tertiary students who have now been turned into breadwinners.

“Some of these underpaid civil servants have school-going kids who have to be fed three time a day, as compared to just once when schools are open,” he said.

Moswaane proposed that each ward be allocated at least five trucks to deliver food.

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“Councils are overwhelmed. They can’t cope, especially in a situation where Social Workers are responsible for assessing, transport and logistics, supplies, proof of delivery, queries and emergency. It’s impossible! My suggestion is food should be donated to families still awaiting to be assessed.”

The Francistown West MP revealed these issues are now spilling over to politicians.

“I can’t take calls anymore. I have thousands of SMS’s from starving constituents,” he said, apologising again as he took yet another call.

Moswaane is adamant there should be a new way of tackling Covid-19 to avoid slight mistakes that could prove detrimental. He said contact tracing should be carried out concurrently with community testing.

“If we’re not careful we may find that the entire community has a fully blown Corona outbreak at the end of this exercise and we’ll be back at square one,” he warned.

“My other worry is that all the ambulances are now fighting Covid-19. Citizens have been left to fend for themselves at a time when there’s no public transport. Nyangabwe Hospital used to be full with people in need of medical attention. Where did all these people go? How’re they coping?” asked Moswaane.

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“This I fear could be a case of gross human rights violation,” he concluded gravely.

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