Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Basarwa, Wayeyi fight Tawana landboard

Tawana landboard has rejected appeals launched by Wayei and Basarwa which sought to reverse Kgosi Tawana Moremi’s allocation of a piece of land in Moremi Game Reserve.

Tawana landboard last month allocated a piece of land to Kgosi Tawana Moremi after years of requests claiming the land is his inheritance.

A source has revealed that the two tribes had protested the decision seeking to stop the landboard from allocating Moremi the piece of land in question.

Source said as a result they are awaiting Moremi to bring coordinates of the piece of land he wants.

“We had long been dealing with Kgosi Moremi’s request to be granted a piece of land and we have done that, so what is currently on going is trying to prepare him a lease,”

“Wayei and Basarwa have no case because they have previously failed to motivate their case on why we should not allocate a piece of land of land to Kgosi Moremi,” said Source.

He stated at the beginning of the year when plans to allocate Kgosi Moremi a piece of land had gathered, representatives of the two tribes objected the move at court of council. The landboard dismissed the objection.

He the two tribes subsequently appealed the landboard decision at land tribunal and later withdrew.

On the other hand, Tawana landboard board chairperson Emmanuel Dube remained tight-lipped over the issue stating that the matter was internal .

“We listen to everyone who has a case. We always encourage people to appeal whenever there is any dispute. In this case I cannot discuss third parties’ issues with the media,” said Dube.

For his part, lawyer representing Basarwa on the case Tshiamo Rantao said he Land Board has communicated its decision and they are now taking instructions on the way forward.

“We appealed to the Land Tribunal. The Land Board filed its minutes which showed that Tawana was yet to be granted the piece of land. We will have a final position hopefully by the end of next week,” said Rantao.

Rantao argued that the Basarwa and the Bayei are the earliest inhabitants of the Chief’s Island stating that their parents and grandparents are buried there.

“Kgosi Tawana and his parents and their ancestors never lived there. It’s only that they used to hunt on the Basarwa land which is originally called Tsabaoro, not Chief’s Island. It was simply called Chief’s Island because his parents were allocated  hunting grounds there,” added Rantao.

He further said the Basarwa and the Bayei were relocated to the settlement outside of the Moremi Game Reserve when the Chief’s Island was incorporated into the Moremi Game Reserve in 1963 while some were only relocated around 1979.

“There’s no dispute between Basarwa and Bayei as far as I know.

They both occupied it. However, the Basarwa are the earliest inhabitants,”

“In any event, the question of who the earliest inhabitants are is not relevant. If your family was relocated from there in the 60s and late 70s, you would inherit if the land is distributed according to inheritance,” said Rantao.

On the other hand, Wayeyi tribal authority chairperson Daniel Samosenene contested that there were no consultations in the lead up to the agreement, adding that as far as they are concerned Chief Island belongs to the Wayeyi community.

Samosenene highlighted that they have been engaging government over the issue over the years, stating that government has always known their stance regarding the prime area.

“As far as we are concerned, wayeyi history dictates that the place belongs to us and we are shocked that this matter was concluded without even consulting us,”

“We should be consulted especially regarding such as an issue we thought government is in agreement with us so that we can then go back to the wayeyi community to engage them,” said Samosenene.

He also said the contentious issue has been dragging since 1926. He stated that they have always wanted ownership of the land and all the powers associated.

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