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Okavango River Bridge opens for public use

SHAKAWE – Opening of the majestic Okavango River Bridge, alias Mohembo Bridge, is a historical moment for the people of Okavango who have been relying on a ferry for decades.

Some residents from both Mohembo East and Mohembo West gathered to witness the handing over of the Okavango River Bridge to the community leadership by Minister of Transport and Public Works, Mr Eric Molale on Friday for public use prior the official opening to be performed on a date to be announced.

Minister Molale said the Okavango River Bridge was not only significant to ease transportation in the area but was also a tourism attraction site. β€œThe bridge is going to improve the lives of the people of Okavango. People can travel anytime of the day in the absence of a curfew brought about by the ferry,” he said.
He said the bridge project, which cost government slightly over a billion, signified fair allocation of developments by government to all parts of the country. β€œThe two bridges of Okavango and Kazungula open opportunities for other countries to come and invest in Botswana,” he said.

To mark the end of an era for the ferry, one retired pioneer of pontoons from Sekondoboro in the Okavango area, Mr Dikumbiro Makaeko drove the last pontoon to Mohembo East from Mohembo West. On the pontoon, Mr. Molale said the wish was for container to be used for business and tourism purposes going forward.
Earlier on, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Mabuse Pule, who represented the former Minister of the then Ministry of Transport and Communications, Mr. Thulagano Segokgo, handed over the bridge to Minister Molale to hand it over to the Okavango community. Mr. Pule appealed to the Okavango community to use the bridge properly and guard against abuse and accidents.

Okavango sub-district council chairperson, Mr Lesedi Boy said the opening was a delightful moment for the people of Okavango. Mr. Boy was hopeful that the bridge would improve service delivery in the sub-district and attract more tourists and investors. He thanked government for the decision to open the bridge for public use prior the official opening. β€œAs the council we experienced challenges that negatively affected service delivery as the ferry sometimes experienced breakdowns rendering movement impossible across the Okavango River,” he said.
One resident of Mohembo East, Ms Retseyeng Sachuma also thanked government for the bridge. Another resident, Mr. Kepaletswe Dibebe was also happy that government had opened the bridge for public use and was hopeful that it opened investment opportunities in the area.

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