The First People of Kalahari (FPK) have castigated a move by Ditshwanelo, the Human Rights Organisation, to establish the Central Kalahari Game Reserve Non Governmental Organisation without their input.
Ditshwanelo┬á is optimistic that the NGO┬áwill resolve the standoff┬á between CKGR residents and government while First People denounce the plans as untrue.
┬áFirst People of Kalahari Spokesperson, Gakelebone Jumanda, revealed in an interview that Ditshwanelo┬á and government are on a witch-hunting mission.
“I am aware that there is such an organisation but, as FPK, we are not privy to information about the purpose of the NGO. As residents of CKGR, we had hoped that we could be brought on board but it is clear that this is a top secret. Maybe we have been sidelined because we have been close to Survival International and the media,” said Jumada.
He dismissed claims that the CKGR NGO under the secretariat of Ditshwanelo will┬á benefit the residents of CKGR since they are not part of the NGO.
He wondered why the┬áCKGR NGO, purporting to be at the forefront of resolving the standoff between residents of CKGR and government, has been kept a secret.
Jumanda further explained that he has also enquired from individuals who were believed to have been chosen to be part of the CKGR NGO but they have also stated that they are not privy to what was going on.
He said that the residents of the CKGR are still suffering while Ditshwanelo, through the NGO, claims that they are formulating programs┬á without the interests of CKGR residents.
Jumada further┬ánoted that he has approached Ditshwanelo seeking an explanation after learning that there was such an organisation but there was no explanation on the issue.┬á
“They have not told us the purpose behind the NGO. We hope that they are not formulating a plan to oust us from our land,” said Jumanda. He said that so far they have not seen the results that came by the establishment of the NGO.
┬áThe Ditshwanelo report that has been submitted before the Human Rights Council stated that the CKGR NGO Coalition under the┬á Secretariat of DITSHWANELO has┬á been engaged in facilitating constructive engagement between the selected representatives of former and current residents of the CKGR since 2006.
In┬á their report before the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ditshwanelo state that the government has also expressed its commitment to finding an amicable solution to the CKGR issue, through working with local stakeholders.
The┬áreport further states that in 2010, the Coalition facilitated the beginning of a mapping exercise process, which is still underway until July 2012, aimed at the production of a community-based land use management plan for the proposed Molapo community use zone, Molapo being one of the settlements inside the CKGR.
The report also indicated that the┬ácommunity is actively participating in the process.
“It recognizes the potential of this process for land use and for the creation of sustainable income generation and equitable participation in developmental processes. The plan will be required to address Government policies for the conservation of the CKGR biodiversity and wildlife resources as part of a formally protected area and wise management as well as development of the CKGR, as a pristine ecosystem and internationally renowned wilderness and tourism resource The Government of Botswana has enabled the CKGR NGO Coalition to facilitate this process by providing the requisite entry permits to the CKGR, whenever they are required,” stated the report.
Ditshwanelo also stated that the government has also expressed its commitment to finding an amicable solution to the CKGR issue, through working with local stakeholders.
The report also stated that the outcome document will be a basis of the continued constructive talks between the Government and the current and former residents of the CKGR.
Ditshwanelo on the other hand is demanding the government of Botswana, which is represented by the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Ramadeluka Seretse, to inform the Human Rights Council how many special licences have been issued to Basarwa/San since the first UPR cycle in 2008.
It is Ditshwanelo who also want the minister to state the number of┬á Basarwa/San┬á who have been arrested for poaching, tried in a court of law and sentenced.