Fedup Nakwa Safaris has threatened to invade a portion of the Okavango Delta by force citing the special favoritism given for utilization of the land by a company owned by internationally renowned filmmaker, Derek Joubert.
Joubert recently made international headlines when he likened Botswana’s plan to lift trophy hunting to a ‘blood law.’ However, a company owned by two Okavango natives, Maitapiso Mosiiwa and Cameroon Diwa of Beetsha village, have accused Joubert and former President Ian Khama of colluding to deny them a chance to utilize a portion of the Okavango Delta commonly referred as NG23A.
One of Nakwa Safaris Director, Diwa criticized the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation, and Tourism for refusing to grant his company a lease to utilize the portion of prime land. Giving the background of the issue, Dina said the unoccupied NG23A is part of the community concession leased to Okavango Community Trust. Diwa said in 2017, after establishing the land was unoccupied, they applied to the ministry requesting a permit to utilize the land.
Diwa said the ministry responded and informed them that four companies have applied to use the land. He explained that the ministry further said they could only be granted land with the approval of the Okavango Community Trust (OCT). He said they then approached the community which gave them a green light that they could utilize the land.
Diwa said the village development committees (VDCs) of Seronga, Beetsha, Gunotsoga and Gudigwa, and the tribal leadership gave them approval letters which they submitted to the ministry with the application. He explained that the ministry then demanded that they should prepare a management plan – which they did and submitted. However, despite numerous telephonic follow-ups and numerous physical attendances by Nakwa at the ministry enquiring about the outcome of its application, they were failed, neglected or deliberately refused for a period of more than 16 months.
Diwa explained that they later learned that Great Plains, owned by wildlife filmmaker, Joubert who is known to be close to former president Ian Khama had an interest in the area and was operating a camp there. Diwa said they then wrote a letter querying this with the ministry but got surprised that instead of responding to their queries, the tourism ministry issued a press release.
In the press release, the Ministry indicated that NG23A concession area has not been allocated to any investor contrary to the reports and it is a vacant concession. The release said the Ministry has received a request from Nakwa Safari’s to be directly allocated the NG23A concession. The Press Release issued sometime in 2018 stated that the request has not been acceded to as the concession area is to be put to open tender by Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO).
Diwa explained that to prove that the concession is not vacant, through their lawyers, Kebonyemodisa Attorneys, they called for a site visit of the disputed concession conducted by Attorney General Chambers. Dina said it became clear that Joubert camp is located within NG23A saying however no action had been taken since.
“We have explored all avenues at no avail. We have so far incurred close to million Pula preparing management plan demanded by the ministry and in legal costs. It appears there is nothing we could do. We are going to invade the land as Jourbert has done with impunity. This is our forefathers land so why should we be denied a chance to benefit from it.”
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.