Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Lawyers for Basarwa back in court next Wednesday

Gaborone lawyer, Duma Boko, and Britain-based advocate, Gordon Bennet, who successfully sued the government of Botswana over the forced relocating of Basarwa from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, are on the 5th of December expected back in the Lobatse High Court to seek leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals for costs estimated at millions of Pula.

This follows after the judgment passed by Lobatse High Court judges Maruping Dibotelo, Unity Dow and Francistown-based Judge Mphaphi Phumaphi did not address the question of costs. The defense lawyers, on the other hand, felt that they were entitled to be awarded compensation for the legal fees of the case which they had won.

The case, which ran over several months, saw Roy Sesana, who rose to prominence during the marathon case, criss-crossing the globe asking for donations to pay legal fees. Survival International (SI) is reported to have played a major role in getting money from donors to enable the Basarwa case to be heard in Court.
This angered some quarters who view Survival International’s duties as interference in the country’s affairs and that it was actually using the plight of affected Basarwa to make money for itself.

This sentiment was even expressed by one visiting British Parliamentarian immediately after the judgment was passed.

But SI was not moved by the accusations and maintained that they were doing this for Basarwa just as they are doing around the world where there are cases of indigenous people who have unfairly lost their land.

Recently, it was reported that Basarwa were thinking of returning to the Court to complain that the Government was not keeping its promise of allowing them to return to the CKGR as the court had pronounced.

The government was, in this case, represented by Sydney Pilane, the legal advisor to the President, who was assisted by Dittah Molodi of the Directorate of Public Prosecution.

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The Telegraph October 21

Digital edition of The Telegraph, October 21, 2020.