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Basarwa clash with Gov’t over human/Wildlife co-existence

The government has been warned not to address Ranyane residents in the Gantsi District on matters relating to the recent judgment on the denial of services pending the appeal against the same ruling.

The legal representative of the Basarwa tribe of Ranyane wrote an urgent letter to the Gantsi District Council this week ahead of a scheduled kgotla meeting and warned the officials that they were free to address the residents on any issues, save for the High court Judgement.

“The reasons are quite obvious that our clients have appealed the High court judgment to the court of Appeal and until the court of Appeal has made its pronouncement the matter is sub judice,” advised Onalethata Kambai, of Kambai Attorneys.

The Gaborone based Attorney, further added that he had to write the letter because the Council had earlier alluded to the fact that the purpose of their intended visit on Friday 18th, 2015 was to explain the implications of the judgment to the residents.

“As stated during our conversation, as legal counsel for the Applicants, now Appellants, we have already explained all implications of the judgment to clients and we do not see the need for the respondents to explain any legal implications,” the letter further reads.

According to Kambai, once a judgment is appealed all parties must desist from attaching their own interpretations because they will have the opportunity to do so at the Court of Appeal and the clients rights are reserved.

“By virtue of this letter, the Registrar of the Court of appeal is duly notified. This letter is written on a completely without prejudice basis,” Kambai further explained.

In October this year, Justice Terrence Rannowane of the Gaborone High Court ruled that the Council cannot be ordered by the court to extend free services to unrecognised settlements such as Ranyane. The 114 residents had dragged the government officials before Rannowane’s court and demanded that they reinstall the free services that included, water, a mobile clinic, drought relief programme (Ipelegeng) and the borehole engine.

In a Judgement that took Rannowane approximately 11 Months to prepare, Ranyane residents were told that the Council was not under any obligation to supply them with water and rather that it was the Water Utilities Corporation which supplies drinking water throughout the country.

However Kambai contends in the letter that he wrote to the Council this week that even though the main point in the judgment was that there were factual disputes in the case, Rannowane did not really attempt to resolve the dispute between the parties hence they were appealing the judgment.

“The Judge strongly purported to take judicial notice of the fact that the provision of water is now the sole responsibility of the Water Utilities Corporation under the Act of the same name. On the contrary, section 14 of the Act provides that it shall be the function of the Corporation (a) to supply water in bulk or otherwise and in such areas as the Minister may, after consultation with the Corporation, designate by order published in the Government Gazette. There was no evidence before the Court that Ranyane is in an area “designated” by the Minister,” Ranyane residents state in the grounds of Appeal which were filed this week.

They further argue that the said section 14 does not take away the responsibility of the Council from supplying water to individual settlements in the District.

The Council terminated free services to Ranyane in 2012 following a population census which indicated that the human population was growing too fast in the wildlife protected area. The government then attempted to forcefully relocate the residents to neighbouring settlements of Bere, Metsimantsho, Chobokwane and others, but was stopped through a High court order.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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