Botswana: Olopeng Warns Youth Against Alcohol, Drug Abuse

Tonota — Member of Parliament for Tonota, Mr Thapelo Olopeng says government is concerned about the escalating rate of alcohol and drug abuse among the youth.

Addressing a kgotla meeting in Tonota on April 23, Mr Olopeng, who is also the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, appealed to the youth to desist from such behaviour because it ruined their future.

Tonota was recently hit by a new method of drug taking called bluetoothing.

Bluetoothing is where drug addicts, who do not have money to buy their drug of choice, draw blood after a hit and inject it into themselves to get high.

Mr Olopeng therefore appealed to parents to reprimand children for abusing drugs as charity begins at home.

He said it was against this backdrop that government decided to increase penalties for drug use as a deterrent, saying those who would be caught in the act would 'rot' in jail.

He also told residents that some of the youths were abusing social media such as Facebook by posting derogatory language, or insult other people, saying government had amended laws to punish perpetrators.

He said government has also amended the Stock Theft Act to severely punish livestock thieves because the rural livelihoods were dependent on livestock.

On other issues, Mr Olopeng said the installation of street lighting in Tonota had been delayed after the contractor requested for an extension due to some unforeseen circumstances.

In addition, he said most of the internal roads in Tonota would be upgraded to bitumen standard.

He said the primary hospital project would go on as planned during NDP 11 and that it would be considered under the mid-term review for finalisation.

Another project which is expected to be undertaken during this financial year, he said, was the tarring of the A1-Semotswane, Mandunyane, Shashe-Mooke and Mathangwane road, which had been delayed for a long time due to issues of compensation of farmers as well as financial constraints to start the project.

On other issues, Mr Olopeng said government required close to P11 billion to replace all warn-out water pipes across the country, but promised that some temporary measures would have to be put in place so that Batswana continue to enjoy potable water.

He also told residents that government was not against the increase of allowances for Village Development Committee (VDC) members, saying if the economy allowed, that matter would be considered as VDCs were an important structure in the development of this country.

Earlier on, the Umbrella VDC chairperson, Mr Gaelebale Nkaelang had said Tonota had grown, but lacked tarred internal roads despite being along one of the major highways of the country.

He had also complained about the welfare of VDC members, saying their allowances were not attractive as compared to allowances for other committees.

He therefore appealed to government to create a conducive environment for VDC members by increasing their allowances.

Mr Nkaelang had also complained that it was taking long for government to implement some of the projects it had promised that include the construction of a primary hospital in Tonota, installation of street lights as well as the tarring of some internal roads.

At Loemboko (Borotsi) ward, Mr Olopeng told the residents that Electronic Voting Machine would not be used in the coming general elections.

He also encouraged residents to take advantage of the ongoing supplementary voter registration so that they could vote in the October national general elections.

Mr Olopeng advised them to renew their Omang cards and to keep them safe, adding that the voter registration book was also out for inspection.

Meanwhile, the principal elections officer for Tonota and Shashe West constituencies, Ms Tsholofelo Chimela told the residents that the number of people who registered in the first voter registration and the supplementary registration that ended in March this year was far below the number of people who registered in the same exercise for the 2014 general elections.

She therefore appealed to the residents to take advantage of the ongoing supplementary registration to avoid last-minute rush.

Source : BOPA

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