Minister Tshekedi Khama’s failure to officiate at the first phase of Maun 101 years celebrations on Monday was seen as a deliberate snub.
Minister Khama had previously confirmed he would make it to the occasion.
A handful of people attended the event, despite the many invitations which were sent out to people from even outside Maun.
Residents had at one of the preparatory meetings made a suggestion that the organizing committee should come up with a different name of guest speaker since they did not trust Tshekedi would turn up.
Minister Edwin Batshu whose meetings in Maun coincided with the official opening day stood in for Khama.
In his opening remarks, Batshu said he had come to Maun on a different assignment but said there was no way he could just turn away a request by his colleague to stand in for him.
“Minister Tshekedi only phoned me on Friday to say he cannot make it here as he was in South Africa enroute to Dubai on official duties. He requested that while here, I should pass by and officially open this day, hence my presence here this morning. However I won’t stay for long as I have scheduled meetings to attend”.
However Batshu noted that he was more than happy to be a part of such an important day as it adds to the history of Maun and its people. He said 2016 is indeed an important year as it is also the same year in which Botswana celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence.
As part of the week long celebrations scheduled to end on Saturday next week, Batawana had wanted to do bush walks at the Maun Educational Park on Saturday, but by the look of things, it might also not be possible according to Batawana Senior Chief Representative Charles Letsholathebe.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Letsholathebe said they have been told by the Regional Wildlife Officer that a request to allow for bush walks by a large number of people cannot be met since there are no ablution facilities and other services in the park.
“However the organizing committee is working on the matter for alternatives such as hiring mobile toilets. Should the office still refuse us entry, then we will see this as serious sabotage by government.”
The opening day’s activities included a tour to Batawana royal cemetery to honor their departed leaders and the laying of wreaths by the queen mother, Boitshoko Moremi, Kgosi Kealetile Moremi as well as Kgosi Charles Letsholathebe.