KGOSI TAWANA CALLS FOR UNITY IN LOOMING BATAWANA VS GOVT COURT BATTLE FOR MOREMI GAME RESERVE
The tug of war between government and Batawana over Moremi Game Reserve and Maun Educational Park is likely to be decided in court soon.
Speaking during a kgotla meeting on Monday Batawana’s paramount Chief, Tawana Moremi announced the opening of a bank account for sympathisers and concerned individuals to deposit funds to pay legal fees for the looming court battle for Moremi Game Reserve and Maun Educational Park.
Kgosi Tawana together with Senior Chief Representative Charles Letsholathebe called for unity from all tribes within the Ngamiland area to enable for the community to speak with one strong voice in their fight against the ‘devil’ they call government.
Giving an example of how there’s strength in unity Kgosi Letsholathebe reminded the people of a case in the 90s when the community united to fight against a powerful businessman who wanted to extract sand from Thamalakane and eventually won.
“If we unite and revive our Mephato regiments then we will get what belongs to us, we did it before and we can also do it now,” said Letsholathebe as he rallied the people.
Speaker after speaker at the kgotla meeting who were mainly elders castigated “greedy elements’ from the Bangwato tribe whom they said have abused natural resources in the Central district and were now targeting Ngamiland.
It was evident that certain Bangwato men wanted the land in Ngamiland for their own personal benefit, the elders charged.
After the meeting Kgosi Tawana called a press conference where he told the media that it was important for the people of Ngamiland to guard against the risk of being be divided and ruled, especially by accepting bribes.
He made allegations that government has over the years tried to silence him when he wanted the Moremi Game Reserve to be handed back to the Batawana who were the rightful owners.
“Government tried to silence me during Festus Mogae’s tenure by offering me a concession area in the game reserve but I turned it down and continued to demand back what belongs to Batawana.”
Another attempt at silencing his voice followed when he was offered an ambassadorial post to the United States of America which he also turned down, Tawana alleged.
“They asked me to take the position as some sort of a vacation for me and my family so I could be far from all the Ngamiland stressful issues but again I told them I was fighting for my tribe.”
Moremi Game Reserve was named after Chief Tawana Moremi of Batawana. It was officially opened on 15 March 1963 and run by Fauna Conservation Society of Ngamiland until 1979 when the department of Wildlife and National Parks requested to use the game reserve as there was no proper management by the society and it was agreed that if the society wanted to revive its constitution and run the game reserve, it would be allowed to do so.
The Department of Wildlife has since transferred the ownership of the land to government through a directive from the Office of the President and the tribe has decided to launch a court case to reverse that transfer.