Batawana say they are still unconvinced that the Minister for Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama will this time around honour an invitation to be guest speaker at an event to mark Maun’s 101 years.
Celebrations are scheduled from 22nd to 27th August. They say the minister has a tendency of not showing up as he has previously turned them down at the most critical times when they wanted clarity on issues of concern.
At a kgotla meeting called to update them on the much awaited celebrations which were supposed to take place last year, residents took turns to try and convince the tribal leadership to find an alternative person since the chosen one was “unreliable”. “
Village elder Seoka Kenosi told the gathering that he still cannot understand why the organizing committee came up with Tshekedi’s name or what selection criteria was used as the minister has in the past disassociated himself from Batawana.
Kenosi said the reason that the tribal leadership has on numerous occasions failed to bring Tshekedi to Batawana kgotla is enough evidence that he underrates them and cannot appreciate their efforts to build whatever relations they might wish to have with him.
“You need to be wary of who you pick in the future. People like Tshekedi cannot be trusted and you are well aware of that. Remember this is the same man who has always turned you down when we needed him most. We have issues of concern here that need him but he has always sent his subordinates or no one at all. How then are we going to trust him with this important event? Please we don’t want to embarrass ourselves, and so I feel it is still not late to find a different person who understands the significance of this day in our lives,”said Kenosi.
“You know very well that Tshekedi and his brother have always shunned this kgotla.They will do everything possible to keep their distance”.
Responding to doubts raised by residents, Chairperson of the Organizing committee Baagi Mogalakwe said they have already received confirmation that the minister will make it to the event.
“We are expecting the minister himself and not his subordinates. But we would still understand even if he assigns someone on his behalf because we understand he has a busy schedule. I personally don’t think his absence here will be some kind of sabotage. So let’s all keep our fingers crossed that he will definitely make it this time”, she said.
In addition to inviting Tshekedi as guest speaker, Mogalakwe noted that they are yet to request the minister to either donate or allow them to hunt a few wild animals as they would like to have game meat in their menu.
“He is the minister responsible for wildlife, and so we thought it would be more than appropriate to approach him on the matter”.
The week long activities according to Mogalakwe will include among others, camping and a wilderness walk at the Maun Educational Park (MEP), the same park that brought a rift between the minister and Batawana.
The tribe has maintained that the park is theirs while the ministry says it is state land.