Batawana vow to fight tooth and nail via the courts
Batawana and their paramount chief who is also the Member of Parliament for Maun West, Tawana Moremi have accused Tawana Land Board and Office of the President for what they term unconstitutional transfers to take away land from Batawana.
The attack follows a February 2014 decision by the Office of the President issued through a directive order, for the transfer of thirteen tourists’ sites within the Okavango Delta from Tawana Land Board, to the central government – this thirteen include Moremi Game Reserve.
The decision escalated the feud between Batawana and the Government over ownership of both Moremi Game Reserve and Maun Educational Park. Batawana, with their paramount chief at the forefront, have been battling for the repossession of these two tourism sites from Tawana Land Board which they believe the government acquired illegally.
On June 2014, Batawana unanimously agreed to take the legal route by dragging the government before the courts of law in order to resolve their feud with the state concerning their tourism assets. This decision came after the tribe concluded that the Government has failed the dialogue approach.
At a held kgotla meeting held recently in Maun, Member of Parliament, Kgosi Tawana Moremi explained that it is unconstitutional for the Government leadership to take land of a particular tribe without any clear understanding of their purpose to do so.
Moremi explained that the constitution indeed sometimes gives the state the power to take land from original owners only if it is for the benefit of the nation at large. But according to the Batawana royal, the constitution was violated in the Batawana case and the national interest argument is clouded by the unconstitutionality of the acquisition. Tawana Moremi also took time and demonstrated how government took Moremi Game Reserve and Maun Educational Park without proper consultation with Batawana.
Tawana Moremi also blamed President Lieutenant General Ian Khama for land problems found in the Batawana territory. He said Khama has forgotten his own 5Ds – being Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery which he introduced when he took power in 2008. He said Khama’s 5Ds have been destroyed by his unconstitutional approach of leadership. He added that even the pillars of Vision 2016 are no longer in sight under President Khama.
Moremi expressed concern that Khama’s directives which are usually meted without consultation contradicts what he promised Batswana in his State of the Nation Address of 2014 after winning power in the October 24 general elections.
“Khama expressed that land is an important asset that could be used for the economic empowerment of Batswana,” explained Tawana Moremi.
The Batawana royal further explained that the same land that President Khama is talking about is illegally taken away from Batswana instead of Government helping tribes maximize benefits from the land.
Tawana Moremi warned that land conflicts will come back to haunt Khama’s administration hence frustrating the President’s declaration to improve the lives of Batswana.
He advised that Ngamiland is a special economic zone where there is tourism, fishery and farming potential that can be used to improve people of Ngamiland who are reported to be the second poorest district in the country after Kgalagadi district.
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.
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.
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.