NEWS 2005




Alberston tried to secure job with govt witness

11 May, 2005

LOBATSE A South African ecologist, Arthur Albertson who gave evidence for the applicants in the ongoing Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) case, once tried to secure a job with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks as a consultant.

Jan Broekhuis, the departments assistant director for parks and game reserves, said that at the High Court in Lobatse yesterday when giving evidence.

Broekhuis confirmed a letter, which is in the court files saying it was e-mailed to him by Albertson.

In the letter, Albertson expressed disappointment about government announcement that it would terminate essential services in the CKGR.

Albertson said governments intention, which was communicated to CKGR residents by the then Assistant Minister of Local Government, Gladys Kokorwe, suggested that efforts to encourage co-operation between First People of the Kgalagadi (FPK) and the wildlife department were in vain.

However, he offered to put pressure on FPK to publicly disassociate itself from Survival International campaigns and convince government that it wishes to pursue constructive dialogue with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

The e-mail is marked confidential. It concludes, on another matter, altogether, I am interested to know if there are any consulting work opportunity with DWNP (Department of Wildlife and National Parks).

Although Albertson had asked to be informed of anything that he could be of assistance in the future especially on mapping and surveying, the department snubbed him.

Broekhuis told the court that Albertsons request did not warrant a reply. Broekhuis also told the court that Barbara Masuge who had been conducting consultative work with CKGR residents on the management plan, was engaged by Environmental Development Group and not his department.

He said he managed to find some of Masuges documents on records kept by a certain Phil Marshall who was also involved in the CKGR.

He said Masuges report was to be incorporated into a chapters on the draft management plant for the CKGR and Khutse Game Reserve.

He denied the suggestion by Albertson that Masuge was unable to complete her work and that as a result, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks asked him (Albertson) to speed up his study for inclusion in the management plant draft.

He said the issue of Masuges none completion of the report never arose at the meeting of February 2001 which he chaired.

He said Albertson was not a stakeholder in the CKGR and that he attended the 2001 meeting as an advisor to FPK.

He said the department never contacted Albertson to work for it. Meanwhile, the court has warned Roy Sesana and Jurnand Gakelebone to stop giving interviews to the press until the case is over.

This follows accusations by the states lead counsel, Sidney Pilane that the duos stories which were carried by the Sunday Standard were subjudice and that the authors be held to contempt.

Their lawyer, Gordon Bennet tendered apology on their behalf. He said they were being frustrated by the length of the trial.

Bennet said the two men were also under pressure from their people who kept asking when the case was ending.

Pilane said the state had no difficulty with the campaigns Sesana had been conducting in and outside the country.

He said both Sesana and Gakelebone should have made their frustrations in court but they decided not to testify.

He reminded the court that the two men are litigants as they have filed affidavits in court and therefore had the opportunity to end their frustrations in court.

He said what they have done by going to the press while the matter is still before court, was inexcusable.

He accused them of trying to raise a storm by even telling lies about what was happening in court. He said we are not going to allow Roy Sesana to be lawless.

Justice Maruping Dibotelo said the issue did not end with Roy Sesana and Jumanda Gakelebone.

He wanted to know why the lawyers said nothing about the Sunday Standard which published the offending article.

Justice Dibotelo said journalists who allowed said stories in their publications should also be brought to order.

He recalled that in the article submitted to that newspaper by Sesana and Gakelebone, allegations were being made of Basarwa having been asked in court how many times do they sleep with their wives a night.

He said no where in the record of the proceedings of the CKGR case, is such an allegation recorded.

He wondered if journalists from that newspaper ever come to court. In response, Pilane said the conduct of the journalist was worse than that of Roy Sesana. He said the only newspaper, which come to court were the Daily News and Mmegi and the rest dont care.

The offending article was carried in the latest issue of the Sunday Standard under the heading Bushman court case is a slow tortoise.

They complain about the amount of time the case was taking and that they were being asked irrelevant things in court.



BPP wants loose pact for 2009 elections

11 May, 2005

FRANCISTOWN Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) has resolved to enter into a loose pact similar to the one used during the 2004 general election with other political parties for the 2009 general election.

The resolution was taken at the partys conference held on April 23 in Francistown.

Members resolved that talks with other opposition parties should start as soon as possible and political activities must commence to mobilise support for the 2009 elections.

They said all the coordinators should be socially visible in order to win the support of their respective communities and the BPP leadership must facilitate the introduction of study groups to empower members politically with the spirit to bring about change in this country.

BPP leader Bernard Balikani urged members to use the partys performance in the 2004 general election as a measure upon which they can improve and grow as a party.

He said the last elections were particularly unique and special in that for the first time in the history of Botswana three opposition parties contested the elections under an electoral pact.

Balikani said although the pact did not do well because it was started late, they proved beyond any doubt that it was possible for the opposition parties to at least work together to unseat the BDP.

He said BPP had the opportunity to choose how they would like to work with other opposition parties for the 2009 general election.

He added that the party has enough time to agree on what form of opposition and cooperation they prefer and to sell the idea to the general membership well before the next elections.

Balikani said they must also consider the possibility of using a single symbol for the 2009 elections because Batswana were ready for this unification of all opposition parties even though the parties were not ready.

He said the symbol should come from one of the participating parties instead of registering a new one, adding that the modalities of choosing such a symbol should be negotiated by all parties.

Balikani said it was not impossible for a single opposition party to win general elections on its own which has made the BDP to become arrogant and pompous.

He said this is evident in the BDPs tendency of appointing expensive commissions of inquiry and task forces without any intention of considering their recommendations for implementation.

He said the ruling party has had 40 years of extravagance, corruption and laxity, saying it should be replaced by a united opposition entity at the next general election.

Balikani said the BPP had a significant role to play in the transformation of the political and economic dispensation of this county as the first political movement in Botswana by taking a leading and selfless role in bringing meaningful political change to the people.

He said the eradication of poverty, disease and ignorance among the people could be achieved by introducing a new government with new policies and a new approach.

Balikani said the BDP was tired and resting in Parliament when it should be resting at home.

He added that inspite of the introduction of programmes such as CEDA, unemployment was growing at an alarming rate.

He called upon NGOs, churches and civil society to become politically active and bring pressure to bear upon the BDP government to listen to the electorate.

He also urged churches and other organisations to demonstrate that they do not condone lack of accountability.



DK appeals for more assistance to empower Batswana

11 May, 2005

MOLEPOLOLE Member of Parliament (MP) for Molepolole South, Daniel Kwelagobe has appealed to the government for the betterment of assistance programmes to alleviate poverty among women and youth.

Addressing kgotla meetings at Lokgwapheng and Ntloedibe wards in Molepolole, Kwelagobe said government assistance programmes are in existence but that they are not enough to empower Batswana.

He said agricultural programmes such as ALDEP and ARAP, which have long been suspended, should be revived.

Kwelagobe said youth assistance funds amounting to P70 000 per district could not cater for the large number of youth facing unemployment.

He however, appealed to residents of the wards to utilise government programmes when they are introduced to them adding that some Batswana do not take advantage of such programmes.

Residents were also told about the impending re-introduction of school fees by the government next year. Kwelagobe said government wants Batswana to practice cost sharing to sustain the economy.

He said government has spent millions to build schools and on free education, saying time has arrived to revive the spirit of self-reliance.

He said destitute people and orphans will continue being assisted by the government to pay school fees.

Kwelagobe also talked about Ntlo Ya Dikgosi and stated that the representatives will be increased from 15 to 35. He says the president will elect five of them.

Commenting on the MPs address, residents were worried about the introduction of school fees saying most of them are not working so it will be difficult for them to pay for their childrens education.

They wanted internal roads to be upgraded to a better standard. They further complained about destitute assessment, saying the assessment teams left out the needy and registers those who are much better off economically.