Botswana — There is need to protect people who have been fighting veld fires, Chobe MP Mr Duncan Mlazie has said.
Commenting last week on the ongoing debate on the State-of-the-Nation Address, Mr Mlazie said the fires, which are a threat to the tourism industry are often very strong.
“These fires are able to cross over to other areas despite fire breaks because they are strong and there is need to use modern technology to fight them,” he said.
Mr Mlazie said volunteers fighting these fires need protective clothing.
He suggested that government should set up a programme, similar to the drought relief, to assist the volunteers during the fire season by giving them some kind of reward for the work they do in dangerous conditions.
“We also need mobile clinics during these fire fighting periods to assist anybody who could be injured as they are exposed to danger,” Mr Mlazie noted.
The Chobe legislator said, if not put under control, fires have potential to scare away animals to neighbouring countries, hence killing the tourism industry which is expected to help diversify the country’s economy.
On agriculture, Mr Mlazie said the envisaged Zambezi Integrated Farming project is a welcome development which has potential to make Pandamatenga the bread basket of the country.
“We are preparing to produce food for the country in Chobe and the project should be given utmost attention as it could make the country become self sufficient in food supply,” Mr Mlazie said.
He said the country cannot continue to rely on other countries, adding that for years Botswana sat on coal deposits which could generate enough electricity to stop the country importing power from other countries.
Making his contribution, MP for Molepolole North, Mr Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri applauded the President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama for selecting Ms Lesego Motsumi, MP for South East South as the first ever woman Leader of the House.
He also said the levels of poverty in the country have tremendously gone down, something the opposition MPs seem not to be seeing.
“You need to recognise that government cannot achieve everything and accept that there is always room for improvement,” Mr Matlhabaphiri said to the opposition.