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Batawana summon Khama over land rights

Maun Educational Park

MAUN: The Batawana royal family have asked Kgosi Kgolo Tawana Moremi, who is also Member of Parliament for Maun West to summon President Ian Khama and his brother who is also Minister of Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama to Maun to address them at the Batawana main kgotla as they have issues they demand answers to, with regards to tourism activities taking place in Maun without their consultation.

Tensions mounted last week Tuesday when the Paramount Chief of Batawana, Kgosi Tawana Moremi was addressing a Kgotla meeting at Batawana main Kgotla. Batawana told Moremi that they want Khama and his brother to come address them at their main Kgotla and give them specific answers as who owns the Moremi Game Reserve, the Maun Tourism Park and the Maun Educational Park.

Leading the call was Batawana senior chief representative Charles Letsholathebe who told a fully packed Kgotla that Khama and his brother are refusing to address them over the matter. Letsholathebe claims that he met Tshekedi at Boro village during the preparations for the celebrations of the Okavango listing and asked him about the matter as he was quoted in some local media saying Maun Educational Park and Moremi Game Reserve does not belong to Batawana as it belongs to the government.

Letsholathebe further pointed out that Tshekedi had then told him that the Maun Educational Park was meant to benefit all Batswana. “When I asked how we Batawana are going to benefit from our park, Tshekedi said we were going to apply for jobs like any other Motswana as there was no specification that we were going to be part of the multi million pula businesses or be part of any top managerial positions” said Letsholathebe.

Letsholathebe further lamented that they also want answers from Khama as to why he locked Xhwihaba caves without informing them, “we wonder who gave him that permission to do so, we are disrespected in our own territory, we never go to Bamangwato and do what they are doing this side, let them come here and explain themselves.”

For his part, Kgosi Tawana Moremi said he had tried to raise the issues in parliament last year, but Tshekedi never availed himself to answer. “He never comes to parliament if he knows he has to answer me, am tired of asking questions at parliament and the only solution is to take this matters to court, we have evidence,” said Moremi.

Moremi also noted that despite Ngamiland being the tourism hub of Botswana its people are not benefiting from the natural resources but remain spectators while the few whites are the ones benefiting in all the business activities taking place in the delta, such as supply of beef, transportation, construction, mechanical works and even management positions.

“Am not surprised that this is happening to us, we took care of our natural resources for many years and now they have been taken away from us and are being controlled by the Khamas  and their white friends. I am a victim of being deprived of what is mine, Chiefs Island in question, so when your land is also taken just know that you are in the same situation as I am. The reason behind all this is they do not want us to prosper, they want us to be controlled and for them to control us, they have to impoverish us so that we can go back to them and beg them for food,” decried Moremi.

Moremi also raised questions over why the Bamangwato royals were showing much interest in controlling the Batawana resources whereas their own remained in their full control. “The Batawana have no interest in their Khama Rhino Sanctuary, our trusts are being taken from under our control while theirs are under their full control, the Kgosi posited.

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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

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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