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.
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.
Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.
The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.
According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.
Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead. According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.
“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.
The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.
Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.
Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty. “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.