Sunday, September 27, 2020

Bring this sorry saga to an end

Mr. Clifford Maribe continues with his fabricated allegations against Survival and myself which are an increasingly desperate attempt to divert attention from the government’s illegal actions.

He alleges that I have made ‘empty promises’ to ‘incite Basarwa to return to the Game Reserve’.

This is nonsense.

The only promise we have ever made is that we will support the Basarwa campaign until those who wish to are allowed to live freely on their ancestral lands once more.

Mr. Maribe claims that only a ‘simpleton’ would come up with such demands. How then does he regard members of the UN Human Rights Committee, which repeatedly says the same thing? Does he also hold the US Department of State in similar regard following its condemnation of the government’s ‘continued narrow interpretation of [the] December 2006 High Court ruling’?

The way to end Survival’s campaign is indeed simple: let Basarwa live, hunt and access their borehole in the CKGR as they did before the government unlawfully forced them out. What is ‘unreasonable’ about allowing Basarwa their constitutional right to go home and live there in peace?

Allowing Basarwa to hunt for food in the CKGR will not create ‘conditions that will facilitate the massive slaughter of wildlife in the Game Reserve’. Before Basarwa were thrown out, wildlife numbers in the CKGR were increasing.

While accusing me of being ‘unfamiliar with the policies targeted at remote area communities’, Mr. Maribe again shows he does not know his country’s own laws. His claim that the Director of Wildlife has issued special game licenses (SGLs) to Basarwa for use outside the CKGR does not correspond with regulation 45 which he cites.
Regulation 45 makes no reference at all to SGLs, which are controlled by separate regulations. The regulation only allows the Director to issue permits to hunt inside the Reserve. She has never issued a single permit, despite the High Court’s ruling that this was ‘tantamount to condemning the residents of the CKGR to death by starvation’. Why not?

As Director of Public Relations, Mr. Maribe cannot have failed to realise the negative impact the government’s treatment of the Basarwa has had on Botswana’s reputation. Can I suggest that he would do better to spend less energy concocting false allegations, and more on helping the new president bring this sorry saga to an end?

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.