..as Magapatona ward residents demand to be recognised as a village
Residents of Magapatona Ward in Tutume village, Edmont Bagaketse Moabi and 340 others have taken the government to court demanding that their ward be elevated to a village status and their headman be crowned a Headman of Record.
According to their writ of summons served by their attorney, Tshekiso Tshekiso before Francistown High Court Judge, Bengbame Sechele, the residents claim that Magapatona ward meets all requirements needed to be considered a village and should have a headman of record.
They say they qualify to be declared a village because the threshold for the establishment of a village in Botswana is 500 people.
Magapatona, the residents have pointed out has a population that far exceeds that threshold.
They have also stated in the declaration before court that the official Population Census recorded Tutume as having 17 518 people while Magapatona alone has a total of 7 545.
The residents are of the view that many villages in Botswana have populations which falls far below theirs in the ward.
Residents seek that government be directed to effect changes and all official records to record that Magapatona is a village. They also demand that government be directed to facilitate the recognition and installation of the headman as a headman of record.
The ward came into being around the year 1944 by grouping Selolwane, Thini, Madikwe and Magapatona wards.
At the time of the grouping, Magapatona village was established where the Magapatona ward is today under Kgosi Magapatona.
They claim the grouping of the villages came as a result of the demand by Kgosi Tshekedi Khama of Bangwato for ease of administration.
After the grouping, the respective villages remained independent from each other with each village governed by its own chief.
When the government started to pay chiefs it encouraged the four villages to select one chief who will be overall chief for the grouped village.
“Motimane Nsala was then selected as the chief for the grouped villages,” the declaration states.
The residents also argue that by agreeing to be grouped with other villages, now named wards, it was never the intention of the people of Magapatona to relinquish their identity as an independent village.
In response, the state’s attorney Kagelelo Monthe argues that for a village to be formed there are many factors to be considered other than population.
“If the request were to be acceded based on the population it would be chaotic for the nation as the growing number of people generally would result in an increased demand to be recognized as villages.” Monthe said.
The parties are expected back in court on the 20th April.