Last Monday evening, Voice cartoonist Lesole Ntshole was at the Gaborone bus rank, standing in a queue to board a bus to Mochudi when he overheard a conversation amongst passengers about poor transport service and the recent police crackdown on illegal transport operators.
LADY IN WHITE BLOUSE: I’m trying to figure how I’ll get to work tomorrow. I hate traveling to Gaborone by bus as it means being late for work.
MAN IN DARK-BLUE SHIRT: Private cars are the best because buses frequently breakdown as they not roadworthy and seats are torn. I wonder how operators with such buses get permits.
LADY WITH SHORT HAIR: The last time I travelled by bus in the morning was when it had a breakdown just after Sebele.
The conductor had to walk to Botswana College of Agriculture to fetch water to cool the radiator.
It was embarrassing. We waited for more than 30 minutes before we could be on our way again.
LADY IN WHITE BLOUSE: The sad thing is police are now all over bus stops.
They want us to board buses and would charge drivers that offer anyone going to Gaborone a lift.
MAN IN DARK-BLUE SHIRT: Those drivers have been operating under their nose for a very long time and they didn’t find any wrongdoing. Why the sudden charge?
LADY IN WHITE BLOUSE: It all started recently, after a mini bus that operated illegally overturned with passengers on board.
LADY IN SHORT HAIR: They have enough manpower to guard all the bus stops, yet when you report a crime, they only arrive at a crime scene the following day.
Their priorities are clearly misplaced?
LADY IN WHITE BLOUSE: They would defend themselves and claim to be doing that to save lives.
MAN IN DARK-BLUE SHIRT: What lives? If they cared enough about people’s lives, they would make sure all skorokoros are off the roads.
If the mini bus accident had not happened, they wouldn’t be harassing private drivers who give us lifts.
The conversation ends as the bus arrives. Everyone boards on.