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Basarwa in Boteti demand their ancestral land back

Keletso Thobega

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Basarwa in the Boteti area are disgruntled that they have been kicked off their ancestral land without any consultation or compensation.  Since December 2017 there have been land displacements that have not only confused the residents but also taken them further away from basic resources, plunging them into further poverty and struggle.

The Spokesperson of Botswana Khwedom Council Banyatsi Salutu fumed in an interview with The Midweek Sun that the landboard does not acknowledge the importance of ancestral land nor uphold the rights of Basarwa. “They make decisions and implement them without consulting us. Basarwa are entitled to their land and should not be kicked out like that. It violates their human rights,” he said.

Salutu said that they had proposed that local government conduct a commission on the ancestral land but nothing had transpired to date. “They told us that they’d meet and discuss the matter but they did not get back to us.When we reach out to them they tell us that they are still busy because there have been changes in the minsitry since Tsogwane (VP Slumber Tsogwane) changed office.” Salutu said that the Botswana Khwedom Council should be engaged on the matter because they understand better the issues related to Basarwa and other indigenous tribes and also represent their ideals. He noted that affirmative action was not implemented and that remote areas Acts such as the RADP did not benefit the Basarwa. He said that the Land policy doesn’t intricately make amends for ancestral land. “Instead, the policy discriminates and violates the rights of the Basarwa,” he said.

Salutu pointed out that in 2014 former president Ian Khama visited them and they aired their grievances about the land to him. “He instructed that the Basarwa in the area be allocated their land. However, this has not happened.” He added that they were instead told that the land belonged to Bakhurutshe bo rra Sekwe.

“This has now created tribal tensions,” he said. He noted that all they wanted was to be given back their land or moved to an area that is closer to basic amenities and resources.” Ancestral land in Botswana is a longstanding issue centred on land historically occupied by the Basarwa and other indigenous tribes. Botswana government has over the years come under fire for relocating the Basarwa from their ancestral land to make way for farms and mining.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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