North West councillors complain about being kept in the dark.
Ngamiland Agricultural Coordinator, Obert Mabutha has revealed work on a special unit that will specifically target the Foot and Mouth Disease is 96 percent complete.
Mabutha’s revelation came during Monday’s North West District Full Council session, where he expressed his hope the unit would be fully operational in the next financial year 2018/19.
The coordinator’s unexpected announcement was made after Councillor Ntlogelang Kebonyekgotla of Boyei ward tabled a motion requesting the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security to establish a special section to deal with prevention and control of Foot and Mouth in Botswana.
“It is my pleasure to inform you that the Ministry has decided to open a Unit that would specifically deal with the Foot and Mouth Disease and its headquarters will be here in Maun,” replied a beaming Mabutha.
The disease has long been a scourge to the region’s dwindling economy.
However, the news was met with scepticism by the majority of those in attendance, who voiced their displeasure at being kept in the dark about the development.
Ngatumbwe Kazambungo of Habu/ Nokaneng questioned the discretion of the issue.
“Why did you keep this a secret? This could have been presented in the District Development Committee (DDC) report for this full council.
“This is an imperative concept that the government is doing for this economy. We have waited for a section like this to save us – similar to the Tsetse Fly Unit – yet you decided to keep quiet about it,” grumbled Kazambungo.
Oabilwe Chombo of Sankuyo / Shorobe went even further, questioning the legitimacy of the agric coordinator’s claims, deeming them unreliable as Mabutha waited for the councillors to mention it rather than voluntarily addressing it
The councillors subsequently adopted the motion, reasoning that if indeed the government was working on the unit their motion would emphasise the importance of the issue.
In an interview outside council chambers, Mabutha voiced his discontent at the councillors lukewarm reaction to his news.
“We adopted this idea from the councillors. When Minister Ralotsia was here on one of the full councils, this concept was one of the burning issues that the minister promised to look into,” he pointed out.
Mabutha explained the unit would consist of a laboratory, which was currently being refurbished.
He said the concept was still at an administrative level as they were aligning it with the ministry’s structure as well as working on the budget for the next financial year.