The much anticipated Gcwihaba caves explorations, which was carried out by the Government of Botswana has come to a halt despite having splashed monies slightly over a million Pula in the project since its inception.
In their bid to continue to sabotage all the projects which were spearheaded by former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama, it is alleged that the current administration decided to put everything on hold and the officers who were deployed at the caves were left in the dark. It is reported that the dedicated team which was joined by officers from Botswana Museum at the expense of the Government, has just stopped and the
In an interview with WeekendPost this week, former President Khama said the costs of travelling to Gchwihaba and doing explorations is slightly in millions of Pula. In September last year Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) announced that a state- of- the-art facility is expected to take shape at Gcwihaba caves, 43 Kilometers from Xai Xai village in the Ngamiland District. Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama who was appointed Tourism Ambassador, was later stripped of the title at the time leading to the development where a lodge and an airstrip were expected to be built to make it accessible for tourists and selling the beautiful caverns to the international market.
In an interview with WeekendPost at the time, Khama said his involvement with the development is not somehow anything commercial but he was pursuing his work as the Tourism Ambassador and offering his experience with the caves dating back to his days at the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) as a Commander.
The former President with his team of soldiers and the Botswana Museum and Wildlife, have been involved in a number of explorations in the area to discover more caves and make them more accessible and attractive to tourists. In the interview Khama said even though the investment is private, the Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) will be at the forefront.
Khama said so far the biggest challenge is water availability and access roads. To help the issue of roads they have resorted to building an airstrip so that air transport can help get there faster. The former President also revealed that he did not see government building roads anytime soon, but confirmed that the roads will be graded in the meantime. “These developments will directly benefit everyone including Batawana,” he said. Gcwihaba caves are a National Monument administered by the Botswana National Museum and protected by the revised Monuments and Relics Act (2001).
Adherence to some basic guidelines will make your visit worthwhile and ensure the continued protection of a part of Botswana’s unique heritage. These caverns were first known to the Qung San and were shown to Matinus Drotsky, a Ghanzi farmer in 1934. Subsequently he published them. The caves formed as a result of natural process that operated and created fascinating geologic formations some 3 to 2 million years ago.
The caverns have been formed in the dolomite marble of the Precambrian Damara super group when wetter conditions prevailed and acidulated water flowing underground dissolved the caverns and later a river forming nearby lowered the water table, emptying them. Rain water highly charged with bicarbonates, percolating through the upper rocks and dripping into the caverns lost its carbon dioxide and chemically precipitated fantastic stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones.
Epic re- flooding, evacuation and dripping have resulted in deposits of different ages forming one upon another. Presently the caverns are refilling with windblown sand but minor seasonal precipitations are also taking place. There are two entrances which are interconnected by a serious of caverns and passages covering a total distance of over half a kilometer. The caves are also an important home for a variety of life including different species of bats.
According to UNESCO website, the Gcwihaba Caves have been part of the Kalahari landscape for at least the entire Pleistocene epoch, some 2 million years ago. The cave contains sediments useful for the regional paleo climatic reconstruction. This was found out during the first scientific research undertaken by Cooke and Ballieul (1974). This cave system has two large (more than 5m wide) cavernous entrances, which have allowed access of a large number of bats and windblown sand deep into the cave.
This has effectively buried much of the cave with sediment of up to at least 7m (Cooke, 1975). Adjacent to this cave is a recently discovered cave named !Wa Doum. This has only been researched on a few occasions. The cave's most important feature is the limited air exchange with surrounding atmosphere as it was more or less sealed off from the outside world until researchers entered it for the first time in October 1992. These caves have a very rich variety of secondary cave formations such as stalactites and stalagmites, but also many more unusual formations such as helictites, soda straws and cave pearls, totally untouched by man.
The cave has been resealed after each visit by researchers to safeguard the interior air composition. The current exploration project has delineated a number of caves of which three have been confirmed. In addition, a lot of bones (both fossilized and modern) as well as archaeological finds have been unveiled through excavation programmes as part of the ongoing exploration work.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.
Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama).
Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.