- Khama family claims to have bought the plot from an American
- Landboard says the American family returned plot to State
- Tshekedi says they have been duped
- Tshekedi uses ministerial jet for personal errands
The Khama family is embroiled in a land dispute with the Shakawe Sub Landboard following Tshekedi Khama’s claims that his family had bought a plot in prime land behind Shakawe Brigades near the Shakawe River, while the Landboard insists the plot belongs to the State.
Information gathered by this publication reveals that almost twenty (20) years ago, an American citizen who was a missionary in Botswana and only known to this publication as Mr Vessel, handed back ownership to the Landboard of all the four residential plots he had acquired in Shakawe before relocating back to the US with his family. In a strange twist of timelines, and as recently as two years ago, Tshekedi Khama, representing the Khama family, approached the Shakawe Sub Landboard asking them to register one of the plots in his name as he claimed that they had bought the plot from the Vessel family.
Tshekedi flew the official ministerial jet to Shakawe last week Wednesday, to handle this personal matter, where he held a meeting with the Landboard officials and Board members who had rejected his transfer of ownership application on the basis there were no records that confirmed his version regarding the claimed ownership of the plot. The Landboard is said to have enquired from Tshekedi why it took him more than two decades to advance his claims to which he allegedly said he had been trying to solicit the help of former Lands Ministers Lebonaamang Mokalake and later Prince Maele.
While the Sub Landboard chairman is said to have wanted to accede to Tshekedi’s demands during the meeting in Shakawe, he was apparently overruled by a majority of other Board members who were unwilling to succumb to Tshekedi’s request to be issued with the plot certificate in his name. Tshekedi lost the battle when Landboard officials produced documents that indicated that indeed the Vessel family had waived their rights of ownership to the disputed land and had ceded it back to the Landboard to revert to tribal land. The chairman is said to have advised Tshekedi to appeal the matter for further redress.
Speaking to the Botswana Gazette on Saturday, Tshekedi confirmed his meeting with the Shakawe Landboard officials and insisted that his family had bought the plot from the Vessel family. He said he had proof of payment but absolved the Landboard of any mischief while apportioning blame on the Vessel family which he accused of duping them. ‘‘We only noticed that the plot had not been registered in our name when we wanted to comply with the Land Administration Procedures Capacity and Systems (LAPCAS) that was introduced by the ministry’’, Tshekedi explained.
He said the family has always regarded the plot as theirs, even when their mother (Ruth Seretse) was still alive because they wanted to use it for the Lady Khama Charitable Trust. The younger brother to former president Ian Khama said the reason they wanted the plot was because of the hassle they encounter every time they have to transport donation materials through boats to their other plot in an island at Samochima, near Shakawe.
Asked why he was not suing the Vessel family, Tshekedi said he was not sure if Mr Vessel is still alive because they have been only communicating with his wife and that he was hopeful the Landboard would nevertheless still allow for the plot to be registered in their name. He confirmed that the Landboard chairman has advised him to appeal the matter and that he was hopeful of a positive outcome.
Chairman of the Shakawe sub Landboard Beerane confirmed the meeting with Khama but referred this publication to the Tawana Land Board Secretary Gabofhete Sphonono Raditladi who in turn said as the main LandBoard they will only know about the case should Khama choose to make an appeal. ‘‘The powers have been delegated to the sub Landboards when it comes to plot allocations and here we can only deal with the issue if it reaches appeal stage’’, Ratladi said in a telephone interview on Monday.