Batawana to sue Gov’t over Moremi Game Reserve
Batawana royals led by Kgosi Tawana Moremi II are in the process of launching a court case to contest the 1979 presidential directive which ordered Moremi Game Reserve to be transferred from the community to the government.
Moremi Game Reserve which was established in 1963 by Batawana was reassigned to government to take care of its administration and management in 1979. However, a bitter debate has erupted in recent years between government and Batawana royals with regard to the ownership of the game reserve.
According to Batawana Paramount Chief, who is also area Member of Parliament, Tawana Moremi the tribe seeks to compel government through court to produce records showing an agreement reached by the two parties in transferring the ownership of the game reserve.
Moremi told this publication on Thursday that they have already engaged lawyers on the matter with the view of seeking justice from the courts of law. Moremi could not divulge the name of the lawyers yet for fear of possible harassment by those who oppose the campaign.
“We have protected our evidence of records and there are secured in all corners of the globe,” said Moremi.
Moremi, who is confident that the Game Reserve is owned by the community, said his bid to return the game reserve to the hands of the people was a target of ruling party propaganda.
“During a rally which was addressed in Maun in the run up to elections, I was described as a poor chief who wanted to use the game reserve to enrich himself,” he said. “But later on people understood what we are trying to achieve and more people are starting to support our resolve.”
The Batawana Chief also highlighted that after an unenviable period, the tribe has managed to raise finances enough to fund the court case.
“There has been pressure from the media and the community to take the matter to court but we do not want to rush the case lest we lose it [case] on small technicalities,” he said.
Government has in the past consistently refused to produce records showing the agreement it reached with the community over transferring natural resources rights. “It is outright unlawful for government as the trustee of records to conceal the agreements,” he argued.
Moremi, has also raised the matter in Parliament when responding to Minister of Finance and Development Planning as he noted that government’s decision to ‘unlawfully’ transfer ownership of Moremi Game Reserve, has left people in poverty.
“The people of North West are looking for answers but the answers do not come from the budget. Government is doing nothing with the drought situation, and the people have not been able to sell their cattle in the last seven years because of foot and mouth,” he said.
It was reported in the last few years that Moremi Game Reserve was generating about P60 million annually, an amount which could be vital for the community empowerment according to the Batawana Chief.
“There are different models we can use to generate income and empower the community through affirmative action measures that will ensure that the community becomes part of the value chain in terms of business operations of the game reserve,” he contended.
Kgosi Tawana said the current arrangement does not benefit the locals since they are not part of the supply chain and people and companies who are often contracted to do business in Moremi Game Reserve are not from the North West.
Moremi mentioned the landmark 2006 court ruling on Basarwa being a prime example of what government does to owners of land.
He stated that despite the court ruling affirming that Basarwa were owners of their land, government has not given them royalties both for mining and tourist activities in the area, or worse still, government wanted to chase them out of their land.
The former chairperson of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi expressed worry that government is failing to produce evidence in records yet it continues exercising control over natural resources rights at the expense of the impoverished communities. “Every time the matter of records is brought up, the records mysteriously disappear,” he said.
Previous Minister of Lands and Housing Lebonaamang Mokalake told Parliament that currently, the resources in all Game Reserves and National Parks in the country are managed by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, while Land Authorities manage the land and are responsible for issuing land rights to interested parties.
However, Tawana believes Moremi is a private Game Reserve which is wholly owned by the community. Management and administration of tribal land and the Flora and Fauna in the Moremi Game Reserve are now managed by the Tawana Land Board in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.
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The curtain came down at the PAP session with pomp and FUNFAIR
It was pomp and funfair at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on March 18 as the African Cultural Music and Dance Association (ACUMDA) brought the curtains down on the PAP session with a musical performance.Â
The occasion was the celebration of the Pan-African Parliament Day (PAP Day) which commemorated the inauguration of the first Parliament of the PAP on 18 March 2004 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The celebrations took place at the seat of the Parliament in Midrand to â€śreflect on the journeyâ€ť as the institution turns 19. The event sought to retrace the origin and context of the establishment of the PAP.
The celebrations included musical performances by ACUMDA and a presentation by Prof. Motshekga Mathole of the Kara Heritage Institute onÂ â€śWhither Pan-Africanism, African Culture, and Heritage.â€ť
The PAP Day was officially launched in 2021 to educate citizens about the Continental Parliament and ignite conversations about its future in line with its mandate.
The establishment of the PAP among the AU organs signalled a historical milestone and the most important development in the strengthening of the AU institutional architecture. It laid solid groundwork for democratic governance and oversight within the African Union system and provided a formal â€śplatform for the peoples of Africa to get involved in discussions and decision-making on issues affecting the continent.â€ť
The genesis of the PAP can be legally traced back to 1991 with the adoption of the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community, adopted on June 3, 1991, in Abuja (also known as the Abuja Treaty). This treaty defined the pillars and grounds for realizing economic development and integration in Africa and called for the creation of a continental parliament, among a set of other organs, as tools for the realization of African integration and economic development. This call was reemphasized in the Sirte Declaration of 1999, which called for the accelerated implementation of the provisions of the Abuja Treaty.
PAP celebrated its ten years of existence in March 2014, a year which coincided with the adoption, on June 27, 2014, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, of the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union relating to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP Malabo Protocol), which, once in force, will transform the PAP into a legislative body of the AU. It requires a minimum of 28 countries to ratify it before it comes into force.
Therefore, the commemoration of PAP Day serves as a reminder to the decision-makers around the continent to fulfil their commitment to the PAP by ratifying its Protocol, 19 years after sanctioning its establishment. 14 AU member states have so far ratified the Malabo Protocol.
The celebrations of PAP Day coincided with the closing ceremony of the sitting of the PAP Permanent Committees and other organs. The Sitting took place in Midrand, South Africa under the AU theme for 2023, â€śAccelerating the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)â€ť from 6 to 17 March 2023.
PAP President, H.E. Chief Fortune Charumbira, expressed appreciation to members for their commitment during the two-week engagement.
â€śWe have come to the end of our program, and it is appropriate that we end on a high note with the PAP Day celebrations.Â
“We will, upon your return to your respective countries, ensure that the work achieved over the past two weeks is transmitted to the national level for the benefit of our citizens,â€ť concluded H.E. Chief Charumbira.
PAP needs to priorities land issues-Prof Mathole
Prof Motshekga Mathole of the Kara Heritage Institute has advised the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) to prioritise the land issue in the continent if they are to remain relevant.
He said this while addressing the Plenary during the commemoration of PAP Day held at the PAP Chambers in Midrand, South Africa
The PAP Day was officially launched in 2021 to commemorate the inauguration of the first Parliament on 18 March 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Intended as a platform for people of all African states to be involved in discussions and decision-making on problems and challenges facing the continent.
In a speech titled â€śWhither Pan-Africanism, African Culture, and Heritage,â€ť Prof Mathole stated that for PAP to remain relevant, it must address the continent’s key land dilemma, which he feels is the core cause of all problems plaguing the continent
â€śIf this Parliament is to be taken seriously, ownership of land and natural resources must be prioritized at the national and continental levels. Africans are not poor; they are impoverished by imperialist nations that continue to hold African land and natural resources,â€ť said Prof Mathole.
â€śWhen African leaders took power from colonialists, they had to cope with poverty, unemployment, and other issues, but they ignored land issues. That is why Africa as a whole is poor today. Because our land and minerals are still in the hands of colonizers, Africa must rely on Ukraine for food and Europe for medical.â€ť
Prof Mathole believes that the organization of the masses is critical as cultural revolution is the only solution to Africaâ€™s most problems.
â€śWe need a cultural revolution for Africa, and that revolution can only occur if the masses and people are organized. First, we need a council of African monarchs since they are the keepers of African arts, culture, and heritage. We need an African traditional health practitioners council because there is no ailment on the planet that cannot be healed by Africans; the only problem is that Africans do not harvest and process their own herbs,â€ť he said.
Meanwhile, PAP President, H.E. Hon Chief Fortune Charumbira expressed satisfaction with the commitment displayed throughout the two-week period and said the PAP Day celebrations were befitting curtains down to the august event.
â€śOn this high note of our two-week engagement, it is appropriate that we close our program on a high note with PAP celebrations, and I would like to thank everyone for your commitment, and please continue to be committed,â€ť said H.E Hon Chief Charumbira.
PAPâ€™s purpose as set out in Article 17 of the African Union Constitutive Act, is â€śto ensure the full participation of African people in the development and economic integration of the continentâ€ť. As it stands, the mandate of the Parliament extends to consultation and playing an advisory and oversight role for all AU organs pending the ratification protocol.
Also known as the Malabo Protocol, the Protocol to the consultative act of the AU relating to the PAP was adopted at the Assembly of Heads of State and Government summit in June 2014 and is intended to extend the powers of the PAP into a fully-fledged legislative organ. It requires a minimum of 28 countries to ratify it before it comes into force.
The commemoration of the PAP Day, therefore, serves as a reminder to the decision-makers around the continent to fulfil their commitment to the PAP by ratifying its Protocol, 17 years after sanctioning its establishment. 14 AU member states have so far ratified the Malabo Protocol.
The PAP Day commemoration also aims to educate citizens about the PAP and ignite conversations about the future of the continental Parliament in line with its mandate.
DPP drops Kably threat to kill case
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Letlhakeng/Lephephe Liakat Kably has welcomed the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)â€™s decision not to prosecute BDP councillor, Meshack Tshenyego who allegedly threatened to kill him. However, the legislator has warned that should anything happen to his life, the state and the courts will have to account.
In an interview with this publication, Kablay said he has heard that the DPP has declined to prosecute Tshenyego in a case in which he threatened to kill him adding that the reasons he received are that there was not enough evidence to prosecute. â€śI am fine and at peace with the decision not to prosecute over evidential deficits but I must warn that should anything happen to my life both the DPP and the Magistrate will have to account,â€ť Kablay said.
Connectedly, Kably said he has made peace with Tshenyego, â€śwe have made peace and he even called me where upon we agreed to work for the party and bury the hatchetâ€ť.
The DPP reportedly entered into a Nolle Prosequi in the matter, meaning that no action would be taken against the former Letlhakeng Sub-district council chairperson and currently councillor for Matshwabisi.
According to the charge sheet before the Court, councilor Tshenyego on July 8th, 2022 allegedly threatened MP Kably by indirectly uttering the following words to nominatedcouncilor Anderson Molebogi Mathibe, â€śMosadi wa ga Liakat le ban aba gagwe ba tsile go lela, Mosadi wame le banake le bone ba tsile go lela. E tla re re mo meeting, ka re tsena meeting mmogo, ke tla mo tlolela a bo ke mmolaya.â€ť
Loosely translated this means, Liakatâ€™s wife and children are going to shed tears and my wife and kids will shed tears too. I will jump on him and kill him during a meeting.
Mathibe is said to have recorded the meeting and forwarded it to Kably who reported the matter to the police.
In a notice to the Magistrate Court to have the case against Tshenyego, acting director of Public Prosecutions, Wesson ManchweÂ cited the nolle prosequi by the director of public prosecution in terms of section 51 A (30) of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana as reasons for dropping the charges.
A nolle prosequi is a formal notice of abandonment by a plaintiff or prosecutor of all or part of a suit or action.
â€śIn pursuance of my powers under section 51 A (300 of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana, I do hereby stop and discontinue criminal proceedings against the accused Meshack Tshenyego in the Kweneng Administrative District, CR.No.1077/07/2022 being the case of the State vs Tshenyego,â€ť said Manchwe. The acting director had drafted the notice dropping the charges on 13th day of March 2023.
The case then resumed before the Molepolole Magistrate Solomon Setshedi on the 14th of March 2023. The Magistrate issued an order directing â€śthat matters be withdrawn with prejudice to the State, accused is acquitted and discharged.â€ť