Thursday, October 29, 2020

Basarwa lawyers want case to be heard

Duma Boko, a Gaborone lawyer who jointly represented the Basarwa in a case they were opposing their relocation from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, says that they intend to apply to the Lobatse High Court for their case to be heard.

Boko, along with Gordon Bennet, a United Kingdom-based lawyer who handled the Basarwa case with Boko, are demanding costs for the case and are applying for an order for their case to be heard in the coming July Court of Appeal session.
This follows after the High Court judgment in farvour of Basarwa delivered last December but which also ordered that each party should pay for their legal costs.

Boko’s team apparently felt it was wrong and felt the matter should be taken to the Court of Appeal.
Boko believes the matter will be heard sometime in the middle of June but is not sure exactly when in June. He said he expected his partner Bennett to be in the country at that time.

Boko decline to say what he thought their chances of winning such an order were saying it is better to wait for the time of judgment.

”Let’s wait for the case and its judgment”, he said.
He could also not say how much they intend to sue for.

The case is reported to have cost a considerable amount of money as, at times, the Court was flown to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve for site inspections.

The case was on several times postponed to give the Basarwa, led by Roy Sesana, time to raise funding.secure donors from organsations overseas. This saw him to America and Europe.

Survival International also played a major role in this regard. This made some people in Botswana to question the organasations’s intentions and to even criticize the organasation for using the plight of Basarwa to get donations from donors.
This statement was of late made by a British Parliamentarian who was vesting Botswana on a fact finding mission.

He said he wondered how much of the money SI had made using the Basarwa’s name had reached them and helped in improving their living conditions.

But SI has always maintained that it was doing all this for the good of the Basarwa and further that they are fighting for the indigenous people’s right to land all over the world and not in Botswana only as some people seems to believe.

Sesana supported their standing on the issue saying that without them they would not have been able to get back what belongs to them. Critics however say he was also involved in the matter because he was making huge financial gains from the case a statement he denied.

The case which attracted world wide media attention was presided over by Maruping Dibotelo, Unity Dow and Mphaphi Phumaphi whilst President’s Legal Affairs officer Sydney Pilane assisted Ditta Molodi were representing the state. In a matter related to the case, Ghanzi District Commissioner Jefferson Siamisang recently told the resident of Molapo and Metsimasweu that spouses and minor children of the 189 applicants including those who were minors on 2002 when relocation took place will be allowed entry into the park without permits. This he said was done out of goodwill. Before this, the government’s stand was that the judgment will only affect the applicants a position the applicant’s lawyers disagreed with.

Siamisang, it is reported further told the residents that only donkeys and horses will be allowed into the park and that they should only be used for the purpose of transport and not for hunting. The residents had wanted to be allowed to bring in their livestock such as goats as they maintain their livehoods depend on them.

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