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Tourism wars: Ngamiland, Boteti furore ensnares BDP

Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism; Tshekedi Khama

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is in danger of losing significant support in Ngamiland and Boteti regions as land ownership wars take a bad turn, with accusation levelled against government for wanting to annex land for private purposes.

Tension continues to sear in Ngamiland and Boteti, with the two communities having launched different legal suits against government’s decision to seize sizeable amount of land for tourism purposes.

While government is still smarting from an acrimonious relationship with Bakgatla over their chief, Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela II, the ruling party could be facing another hostile eruption in Ngamiland and Boteti, two of Botswana’s tourism rich areas.

BDP has already lost a grip, in one constituency in Maun (Maun West), which was defended by Kgosi Tawana Moremi II of the Umbrella for Democracy (UDC) in the past general elections. BDP initially lost the constituency when Kgosi Tawana II defected to BDP splinter Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) which is now a group member of UDC.  

BDP managed to retain one seat, albeit with the help of split votes from Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and UDC. The brewing wars, helped by the cooperation of BCP and UDC could prove trouble for the ruling party.  

Kgosi Tawana II who is a member of the Tourism Parliamentary Committee have said the land dispossession carried on the people of Ngamiland has created poverty in the region, with residents being turned into spectators in the tourism industry. Tourism is the second largest contributor of Botswana’s GDP.

Tourism Parliamentary Committee has just concluded its annual duties, with Ngamiland region having been under the spotlight. Kgosi Tawana II could not comment on the findings of the committee for fear of compromising its integrity but stated that the report will be available very soon.    

Batawana are preparing to file a notice with attorney general to launch the legal suit against government in a highly anticipated battle for the ownership on Moremi Game Reserve.

In Khumaga, a settlement in Boteti, even the Khama magic could not win the day as residents remain resolute that the annexation of land, through the erection of a fence will leave them in a state of despair, with little access to part of their land.

President Lt Gen Ian Khama and his younger brother, Tshekedi Khama, who is Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, had frequented the village of Khumaga with a view of convincing the residents to relent, but to no avail.

Their last visits were in April this year and they failed to persuade the residents to give in. However government has forged ahead with plans to erect the fence, with Member of Parliament for the area, Slumber Tsogwane stating, “Consultation is not an agreement, but government has a right to take land for national interest.”

The Ngwande Trust, which is owned by the Khumaga community, has always believed that the decision to erect a new fence is a plan by the Tourism ministry to protect the interest of one of the leading tourism companies, Chobe Holdings which has numerous interests in tourism in Botswana, including in Boteti around Khumaga village.

Chobe Holding is also linked to the Khamas, who are believed to have interests in the company. Khama’s nephew, Dale Ter Haar serves as one of the directors of the company.

Two years ago Chobe Holdings challenged the ownership of Gwaraga land, a wildlife rich area owned by the Ngwande Trust.  Chobe Holdings contended that Ngwande Trust’s acquisition of the land will conflict with its operations and argued that it was never consulted when the Land Board handed the land to the Trust.

Khumaga village, which has gravely been affected by the decision, is an opposition ward, but at constituency level, the BDP defended the seat in the last general elections, thanks again to opposition split votes between UDC and BCP.

North West District Council Chairperson and former BDP parliamentary candidate for Maun West, Reaoboka Mbulawa has however dismissed the ongoing efforts by Batawana tribal leader Kgosi Tawana Moremi II to take the matter to court.

Mbulawa said doing so serves only as division and detriment to the country’s previous achievements.

“There is no land saga. This is just a perspective some individuals have based on personal agenda that finds the tribe involved. When we took independence we agreed as Batswana to share resources and use what the country produces collectively,” he said.

“We were all educated, and health as well as roads and communications infrastructure were achieved through diamonds from Orapa as well as Jwaneng mines. We cannot allow ourselves to be derailed by individuals who seek personal pieces of land and forget where we come from.”

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Botswana’s Legislative Milestone: Championing Disability Rights

27th February 2024

In a significant stride towards inclusivity, Botswana’s National Assembly has ratified the groundbreaking Persons with Disability Act. This legislation is a cornerstone in protecting the rights and promoting the economic well-being of individuals with disabilities

At the heart of this act is the creation of two pivotal bodies: the National Disability Coordinating Office and the National Disability Council. These institutions are set to revolutionize the integration of disability affairs into the national fabric, as outlined by the Minister for State President, Kabo Morwaeng. Morwaeng highlighted the alignment of this act with the global Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), underlining Botswana’s commitment to international standards in disability rights.

During his address to Parliament, Morwaeng disclosed Botswana’s inaugural CRPD report submission to the UN, underscoring the nation’s dedication to global dialogue on disability rights. Furthermore, he unveiled plans for a comprehensive assessment to understand the socio-economic realities of disabled individuals and their families. This initiative, complemented by the strengthening of existing programs, aims to empower this community, ensuring their integration and prosperity in society

Morwaeng’s call to action was clear. He urged a collective shift in developmental agendas to accommodate and prioritize disability issues, advocating for an inclusive societal framework.

An ambitious budget of P35,631,600 has been allocated to bridge gaps in Disability Economic Empowerment, alongside critical studies and the establishment of the National Emergency Operations Centre. Concluding his presentation, Morwaeng appealed to fellow governmental departments to allocate funds diligently to fulfill CRPD and Persons with Disabilities obligations, marking a new chapter in Botswana’s legislative history towards inclusive development.

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Kabo Matlho’s Majestic Reentry Descends Upon a Solo Venture

27th February 2024

Kabo Matlho, a luminary whose fame once graced the grand finale of My Star, is poised to enchant the music realm once more with an upcoming solo venture—an RnB and Hip-Hop Extended Play (EP)—heralding his grand resurgence after a hiatus that spoke volumes.

During a telephonic confab with our editors, the virtuoso, navigating the world from the confines of his wheelchair, confided that while the exact launch date of the EP remains shrouded in mystery, he is fervently working towards a mid-2024 reveal. Matlho shared the trials of his odyssey, especially the cold shoulder he received from the industry ambushes, crediting the harsh exclusion to his physical predicament.

“The scene calls me once more, for the absence has been both a sabbatical and a shadow. The road for an artist, enveloped in the embrace of wheels, is strewn with fewer welcomes and scarce stages. Yet, herein I forge my return, with the precise hour of my EP’s birth still nestled in the coming chapters, assuredly within this year’s embrace,” Matlho unveiled with a determination that shone bright.

 

Probed on his choice for a solo EP, the melody weaver expressed a desire to not only rekindle his essence but to stand solitary under the spotlight, nurturing his brand to vigor before possibly blending it with the talents of others—once his career phoenix rises anew from its ashes.

Elaborating on his Extended Play, Matlho shared visions of its essence, where the soul of RnB intertwines with the spirited rhythm of Hip-Hop, crafting an audial tapestry that not only returns to his roots but also ventures into previously uncharted territories of his musical domain. With resilience, Matlho faces the crossroads of his artistry, embracing the whisperings of Hip-Hop that tease the boundaries of his comfort, embarking on this path with a heart both apprehensive and ablaze.

 

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BODANSA strikes gold with a handsome P45K windfall from Turnstar Holdings

27th February 2024

The Botswana DanceSport Association (BODANSA) has been graced with a financial boon of P45,000 courtesy of Turnstar Holdings. This generous endowment is earmarked for the illustrious Botswana International Dance Sport Grand Prix Championships, which are scheduled to animate Gaborone from Friday to Saturday.

At a media engagement held early today, BODANSA’s Marketing Maestro, Tiro Ntwayagae, shared that Turnstar Holdings Limited has bestowed a gift of P45,000 towards the grand spectacle.

“We are thrilled to announce that this backing will enable us to orchestrate a cultural soirée at the Game City Marque locale, a night brimming with cultural fervor set for March 1, 2024, from 6pm to the stroke of midnight.

This enchanting space will also serve as the battleground for the preliminaries of traditional dance ensembles—spanning the rhythmically rich Setapa to the euphoric beats of Sebirwa, the spirited Seperu, the heavenly Hosana, and more—in a competition folded into the Traditional Dance Groups Category. The ensemble that dances into the judges’ hearts will clinch a grand prize of P10,000,” elaborated Ntwayagae.

He further illuminated that the cultural eve would not only celebrate traditional melodies but also the fresh beats of contemporary dance variants including Hip Hop, Sbujwa, Amapiano, among others, in a dazzling display of modern dance mastery.

Moreover, these championships carry the prestigious recognition by the World DanceSport Federation as a qualifying round for the Breakdance category for the Paris 2024 Olympics. “This is a monumental opportunity for athletes to leap towards their Olympic dreams during one of the penultimate qualifiers,” underscored Ntwayagae.

Looking ahead to March 2, 2024, the festivities will propel into the University of Botswana Indoor Sports Arena for the championship’s climactic showdowns encompassing Breakdance, Latin, and Ballroom Dancing.

 

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