Why Lift Arms Against Unarmed
September 29, 2005
Posted to the web September 29, 2005
of the Republic of Botswana has indicated that the Basarwa inside the Central
Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) are free to hunt "provided they used
traditional hunting weapons, such as bows and arrows". When asked, the
residents I met in the CKGR in December 2004 stated that they were unaware of
Now that armed
government officials are camped out in the villages within CKGR do we think
that the people will be able to continue to gather and hunt food? This is
intimidation against a people who, though normally peaceful and contrite, have
felt the need to rise up in physical violence. This is what people do when
they face a great injustice.
blockading the CKGR must check the Omang of each of those trying to gain entry.
They will find places of birth such as Molapo and Metsiamanong. What would any
other Batswana say if they met a roadblock and were told they could not enter
their home village? The threat of diseases among the Basarwa's domestic
animals as a reason for the current government embargo on the reserve is
unconvincing was the argument that the P50, 000 for the monthly provision of
basic services was unaffordable. Is this sum not much less than what we spend
per day fighting this case in our own High Court and in the court of world
opinion? In December, my party and I were harassed by wildlife officials. On
arrival at the Xade gate the official on duty indicated that there was no camp
at Molapo where we had booked.
there before I insisted that there was. However, after some discussion, we
were instructed to camp at Xaka, which we did. Imagine my indignation when
wildlife sent a party of some eight officials to check on us as we settled
around the fire to camp for the night.
It was even
worse when some of these officials, who appeared to have been drinking, tried
to look in the back of our bakkies to see what we had brought with us. How
much more resources must be wasted on harassing a gentle people as those in
the CKGR? Is the government indicating that these millions of Pula now being
spent on the CKGR issues are not needed more urgently in other areas? Have the
orphans in this country been clothed, fed and protected? Are the patients out
of the corridors and off the floors at Princess Marina Hospital? Have the
levees been mended so that the flood of illegal immigrants into Botswana is
kept out? Within our government, surely there is someone who has a conscience.
To this brave
soul, please speak out to convince your peers that the path of violence,
already begun, will only lead to further prolonged misery.
once a peaceful country. Why must we bear arms against our own citizens to
force them off their own land?