Botswana: Mabolwe Border Post Placid Yet Challenged

Mabolwe — It is a rough terrain of a 12-kilometre gravel road that meanders through the bushes, cutting across the many rivers and streams to finally land one at the lazy Mabolwe Border Post.

Workers at the border post, unlike at other busy entrance and exit points, have some time to take a breather.

On a busy day they can receive about 50 people on foot and about 10 vehicles crossing into and out of the country, according to immigration officer Mr Rapula Bareetseng.

Opened in June 2016, Mabolwe Border Post still faces challenges of attracting customers because of the roads that lead to the facility.

Worse still, there is no public transport to help ferry people to and from the border post.

People who travel between the two countries on foot usually wait for about five hours to hitch a lift into the country.

Mr Bareetseng reported that his clients were always armed with travel requisites and provision, adding that those who had such challenges as lost passports, usually reported the issues at his offices and get assisted immediately.

Border jumpers are reported to the police, who swiftly attend to the matters, he reassured.

However, he pointed out that during the rainy season, the border is virtually inaccessible because the roads would be flooded, since they cut across many rivers and streams.

To cross to Zimbabwe, one has to have a four-wheel drive vehicle to maneuver past the Shashe River that packs large scale sands. When flowing, movement is suspended until it dries up, since there is no bridge across the river.

Not only do the flowing rivers affect the movement of people intending to use the border post, they also put a stop to services rendered to the employees manning the border post.

Employees depend on bowsed water for survival and such amenities are affected when the road is in a bad state.

Even communication remains a daunting task at the border post, with employees relying on their mobile phones, at least on a good day, to relay messages to their loved ones as well as to communicate official matters.

In essence, there is virtually no network coverage.

One has to locate a spot and steady themselves, without moving an inch and pamper their phones for an almost smooth chat.

That as it may be, the officers usually use official vehicles to relay official communication at the expense of cellphone communication that is quicker and effective.

While there, Mr Bareetseng reported that the phone lines had been down for about two months, hence crippling their operations.

To remedy the problem, he called on the authorities to find possible means of easing the communication problems even if it is provision of WI-FI services.

There is also a threat of elephants.

Although they have never been attacked, Mr Bareetseng pointed out that the jumbos vandalise the cordon fence and tread near their camp.

Lazy as it is, Mabolwe Border Post comes to live on holidays, he observed.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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