The Minister of Environment Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama has in the past remarked that: “Poachers should start carrying their IDs so that we can notify their next of kin. Yes, God will judge the poachers but it’s up to us to arrange the meeting.” Khama said Botswana will do all possible to defend wildlife against poachers.
Survival has asked the IUCN’s Director Inger Andersen to table the motion: “We condemn extrajudicial killing and “shoot on sight” policies in the name of conservation.” The organisation is of the view that the “Shoot on sight” conservation is spreading rapidly, and has been devastating for tribal peoples. But the Botswana government, through the Minister have argued that poachers are a threat to wildlife and human life, especially those entrusted with protecting the animals.
According to Survival, tribal people face eviction to make way for the park’s expansion. “These people should be the caretakers of the national parks, but the government policy has pauperized and alienated them. They have no livelihood and are living in a perpetual jail."
Survival International still holds to it assertion that in Botswana, nine Bushmen were recently shot at by police from a helicopter for hunting antelope for food. “They were then arrested, stripped naked and beaten. The country enforces a hunting ban which makes it hard for them to live, while big game trophy hunters are encouraged.” But the Botswana Police have flatly denied this allegation.
This is despite a 2006 court ruling which recognized the Bushmen’s right to live and hunt on their ancestral land.
But Survival International insists that the spread of “shoot on sight” tactics is just one sign of how conservation is becoming militarized and increasingly brutal. The human rights organisation says the big conservation organizations are guilty of supporting this.
They never speak out about evictions, arrests or shootings carried out in the name of conservation.
“But there are signs of growing public concern. The UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples recently published a report into the impact of conservation on indigenous peoples. And a slew of recent press reports have exposed the devastating impacts of conservation projects on tribal peoples worldwide,” wrote Survival International in a statement.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said: “Conservation would have better luck if it actually brought local communities on side instead of merely paying lip service to policies on indigenous peoples. Conservation initiatives should tackle the true poachers – criminals conspiring with corrupt officials. Instead, tribal people are being shot on sight while big conservation organizations stand by and watch. This is a humanitarian crisis and it’s scandalous that Survival is struggling to get them to condemn this scandal.”
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.