Government spokespersons, Archibald Ngakayaagae of the Ministry of Environment , Wildlife and Tourism, and Daphne Mlotshwa, of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, have rubbished allegations made by the spokesperson of Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Gakelebone Jamunda, that there has never been any consultative meetings between them and the government over the CKGR.
The duo said several meetings have been held since 2008 and that the last one was on December 14 , 2010 in Mogoditshane’s Kagisong Center, which was attended by, amongst others, Minister of Environment , Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila, and representatives from five Basarwa Settlements inside the reserve and three from outside the reserve.
Notably attending that meeting, they said, was Roy Sesana.
Jamunda, they said, did not attend the meeting and that it could well explain why he says there has never been any consultations.
Before the Kagisong Center meeting, Minister Mokaila and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Phandu Skelemani had also toured the settlements for consultation purposes.
Asked to say what the results of these meetings were, Mlotshwa said that they have agreed that there should be a joint statement on the results of such meetings and that at the moment they are still working on it.
“We are still working on it at the moment and we will make it available later,” she said.
Responding to the accusations, Jamunda explained that what he meant when he said there were no consultation meetings between them and the government was that there were no tangible results to show for the said meetings.
“They cannot even produce a sheet of paper to show what was discussed in the said meetings and the result of such discussions. So I stand by my words that there has been no consultation. What we have is just propaganda by the government, which wants to deceive people to believe that we are negotiating with them,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, on Thursday roads lead to Lobatse where the Court of Appeal judges are expected to pass judgment in a case the CKGR residents are appealing a judgment by Justice Lashkavinder Walia in which he ruled that government was not obliged to provide CKGR residents with water as they have chosen to stay inside the CKGR away from where the government is providing services.
Interest in the case was last week heightened by Wikileaks cable in which the former American Ambassador to Botswana, Joe Huggins, condemned the relocation.
Another twist was an the announcement to the effect that government had issued a diamond mining company a multi billion pula licence to operate in the reserve.
In the past, government has consistently denied Basarwa were being relocated to make way for diamond mining.