- Go and see mission expected to uncover a lot
- Basarwa said to be suspicious on non-permanent services
- Sesana’s contract nears end, will the government renew it?
Gantsi district councillors will embark on a three-day camping at the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) to appreciate, monitor and examine government’s services for the first time since government agreed to change heart and restore services following a protracted battle with Basarwa.
Services were restored in 2016 following a three-ministers taskforce commissioned by former president Ian Khama to meet Basarwa and dialogue on the way forward. The taskforce was led by the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, assisted by the former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development who is the new Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane as well as Tourism minister Tshekedi Khama.
It is understood that Basarwa are worried that almost all the restored services are temporary and have asked to be serviced through mobile clinics and Water Bowsers among many other temporary services.
Area councillor Bashi Thiite confirmed that although government’s efforts are commendable, a lot still needs to be clarified pertaining to the decision to restore services. “People are still suspicious and not happy. They want to settle and be at peace but are worried that everything seems to be on transit,” he said.
Of these services, he pointed out that issues concerning water supply were still a hot potato in the area. “The mine which has been serving us well is closing soon and this has also brought panic as to what the way forward is. People need answers,” he said, explaining gratitude that by visiting them, the council would appreciate struggles of Basarwa in the CKGR.
Quizzed on the decision to camp in the CKGR, Council Chairperson Sixpence Galetlhaole said “I guess we will have more to share once we come back. The trip involves all councillors and other stuff members. The hope is that our visit will to some extent also influence policy direction and change the way we have been doing things if need be,” he said.
The decision by government to restore services three years ago saw the activist for Basarwa rights Roy Sesana getting a job from government as a community facilitator through a three-year contract in 2016. The move by government was seen as a masterplan to silence Sesana and Basarwa and shut the door for Survival International which was seen to be tarnishing Botswana’s international image.
Sesana’s appointment, government said, was necessitated by the need to have a person who can play a facilitating role between the government and the CKGR community regarding their calls for the restoration of services and the establishment of income generating projects within the game reserve.
The council therefore rationalised the post of Administration Assistant I (B2) position for Sesana.
Sesana, according to the contract, is the chairperson of a CKGR Committee comprised of one representative from the six settlements of Molapo, Mothomelo, Metsiamanong, Gugama, Kikao and Gope.
The visiting council is also expected to engage to representatives of these settlements and note their suggestions.