An activist of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Jamunda Gakelebone, says that they still stand by their word that they will not be counted in the coming population census, scheduled for August 9 ÔÇô 18, as the government is still denying them services in the reserve.
“The government is still maintaining that they will not provide us with services in the CKGR. Why then do her employees bother to count us when we are not provided with other services?” he asked.
Gakelebone said that, on this point, they had made their stand clear to the authorities who have visited CKGR and that, to the CKGR residents, this was a closed chapter.
I pointed out that if they are counted it might help them as the government would know their population and consider giving them the services they require.
“The government knows that there are people in CKGR that is why she wants to go and count them,” he answered. “What we are saying is simply ‘give us other services before you can think about counting us’”.
The CKGR activist further said that the government has always denied them services such as water and had to battle it out in Court, with the help of Survival International, before they could get the right to drill boreholes in the reserve, again with the help of volunteers, whilst the same service was provided to other Batswana around the country.
“I feel the only problem this government has with us is that she feels we are not Batswana enough to qualify for other services other than to be counted and we do not accept that,” he stressed.
In the past, he said the same government has denied them their democratic right of voting by refusing to provide a voting station in the CKGR.
Early this year, Gakelebone says that he was detained for having visited CKGR without a permit. He said the police have since withdrawn the case against him.
“This is not the end of the case,” he vowed. “I will do something about it.” He, however, did not elaborate.