With the envisioned Grootfontein-Tsumkwe-Dobe tar road in the pipeline at Otjozondjupa Region, civil servants stationed at Dobe Border Post in Botswana want development in the area for the sake of better living and working conditions.

Currently, the border post, which lies 53 kilometers east of Tsumkwe, is characterised by poor infrastructure, including water challenges and bad network reception. Upon arrival at the Dobe Border Post, visitors are served in dilapidated, prefabricated structures. This is equally true of the buildings housing employees of the Home Affairs and Immigration Ministry and the Namibian Police.

The offices are without proper equipment for data capture, storage, or identification of travelers, including landline phones and radios.  This leaves employees reliant on Botswana's mobile telecommunication network.

Mberitjiua Marenga, an Agricultural Inspector in the Veterinary Services, says, "Since this is a border, I think the very first thing the government should do for us is to install a whole network tower; network boosters will also do; these telecom networks or wifis, maybe they might also do for us. Imagine that for us to call our families, we have to drive for over 50 kilometers to go and call your family with a MTC number. So I think we are also left behind; we can't have opportunities, such as maybe going for studies, because we can't study online since we don't have a network."

Although houses for employees were built, some, as well as some of the offices, are without electricity or water supply. Lack of vehicles is another challenge, as none of the three government institutions operating there have any.

"When it comes to the office equipment, since there is no electricity, we have to travel from here to Tsumkwe to make copies. The network is the first thing, and from there, transport at least a vehicle. In addition to houses and accommodations, we have recently moved into our houses, so running water every day is not a guarantee," says Senior Immigration Officer at Home Affairs, Dixon Kaonde. 

The border, which operates seven days a week between the hours of 07:30 and 16:30, is mainly used by tourists and local residents. Addressing the lack of a network, MICT Executive Director, Dr. Audrin Mathe, said the 2024 budget provisions include the setup of a network transmitter in the area.

NamPol community liaison officer for Otjozondjupa, Inspector Maureen Mbeha, said the Dobe police car was grounded due to mechanical problems and that it will be dispatched as soon as it is back from repairs.



Faith Sankwasa