Sunday, January 29, 2023

First People of the Kalahari losing faith in judiciary system

Although they are reportedly in the process of appealing against Lobatse High Court Judge Lashkavinder Walia’s ruling in their previous case, the First People of the Kalahari (FPK) have admitted to losing faith in Botswana’s judiciary system.

Smith Moeti, who is currently studying for a Masters Degree at the University Of Botswana, said that it is evident that like some in the general public, the judiciary system is afraid to go against the government.

Moeti said the judgement came as a surprise to them because they were clearly not forcing the government to do anything for them except grant them permission.

The FPK recently lost a case against the government in which they were denied permission to drill a borehole inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) at their own expense.

“It is clear that Government does not want to give us water; we are not forcing them to pay for anything. All we want is permission to drill a borehole and give water to our people through our own means and not that of government,” said Moeti.

To support his argument, Moeti said that the government is giving the country a bad image, especially in terms of Human Rights perceptions. Water is a necessity and government‘s refusal to allow them to drill a borehole is nothing short of cruelty.

Although the spirits of his people have been affected negatively by the judgement, Moeti said that they have no choice but to continue fighting for their rights as a people.

The FPK, who were represented by Gordon Bennett, have said that Survival International remains their only beam of hope as it has stood by them when others turned a blind eye.

Bennett had based his argument on Section 6 of the Water Act, dwellers of CKGR, which implied that owners of state land have the right to drill boreholes on their own desire without seeking any permission.

Walia dismissed his claims by saying that Section 9 of the same law contradicts Section 6 which requires permission for any drilling.

“We are now more desperate than ever. It makes us happy and grateful that at least there are people out there who are attempting to help us when our own government is mistreating us,” said Moeti.

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