Residents of Boro settlement on the outskirts of Maun are embroiled in a heated dispute with government over the latter’s intention to relocate them and turn their settlement into a wildlife management area.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Kgosi Motswagole Mokgwathi of Boro expressed worry at the lack of developments in the settlement, saying they have been struggling to have it gazetted and given village status as it now has more than 1000 inhabitants.
“They told us that Boro is a very sensitive area and no developments will be made here. We were also told not to build permanent structures because we could be relocated at any time,” he said. At a previous meeting with residents of Boro, the then Ngamiland District Commissioner Bernadette Malala said the settlement has been incorporated into the greater Maun Development Plan. She also revealed that its land use plan, which was influenced by the Okavango Delta Management Plan (ODMP), identified it as a wetland and a wildlife management area. At the time, residents expressed worry and accused government of being more concerned with the upkeep of wild animals rather than human beings. The issue has once again come to the fore, as Kgosi Mokgwathi revealed that the Tawana Land Board has informed them that they will soon be relocated.
He dismissed the ODMP report as a lame excuse used by government to relocate them, saying other equally affected settlements like Sexaxa, Xaraxau, Qukau and Daunara came into existence way before the establishment of land boards.
“We long requested for a school and a clinic to be built here, but in vain. This is our ancestral land; we have been here for many years. Our children are expected walk 20 kilometers to and from school, risking their lives because this area is infested with dangerous animals. We feel isolated from the rest of the country because even government officials have stopped visiting us,” said Mokgwathi.
He also revealed that they have written numerous letters to the Office of the President from as far back as 2010, but none of them have been replied.
“We even wrote to the Maun West Member of Parliament and other relevant departments, but no one has bothered to respond to us,” he said.
Efforts to obtain a comment from Tawana Sub Land Board Chairperson, Kgato Motai were unsuccessful as he was said to be out on official duties.