Mmegi Online :: The fading third ‘D’
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Thursday 20 September 2018, 12:14 pm.
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The fading third ‘D’

On April 1, 2008 near the steps of Parliament, President Ian Khama gave an inspiring inauguration speech in which he mentioned Dignity, or the third of four ’Ds’, as a tenure objective.
By Staff Writer Thu 27 Nov 2014, 12:45 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: The fading third ‘D’








“Living in dignity must go hand in hand with being treated with dignity.”

Events in Tlokweng in June 2012, in Ramotswa in November 2013 and yesterday in Oodi bear all the hallmarks of a sinister conspiracy by land authorities and policy makers to strip Batswana of their constitutional and presidentially-assured right to dignity. In June 2012, more than 10,200 applicants fought in a raffle for 285 plots, resulting in skirmishes and damage to public property. In November 2013, the same dignity-scarring episode occurred, with police called in to disperse thousands who thronged the Malete Land Board offices to compete for just 300 plots.

Yesterday in Oodi, with only 400 plots available, the numbers of landseekers swelled into the thousands again, with Batswana sleeping in the open and overnight just to submit forms and perhaps have a chance at being allocated one of the most basic of birthrights – land.

We do not intend to address the greater land crisis which has been and continues to be the subject of extensive political, parliamentary and judiciary review. What is in focus here is the process through which citizens are granted access to their land.

Have policymakers become so bereft of innovation that land raffles appear the best method of allocating land? In which parallel universe is such an inherently raucous, ungovernable and demeaning process best suited for equitably sharing the most precious resource a citizen can have? The ‘most precious resource’ because the many other natural endowments in the land of their birth, such as diamonds, coal

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and tourism are out of their reach. They are thus often relegated to being employees of those within reach or dependents of those employees but not the entrepreneurs.

Next to water rights, land, thus, is the resource most economically significant to Batswana, as seen in the pivotal and emotive position it occupies in our culture. Land authorities, or those who have been tasked with parcelling out this resource, seem to derive callous delight from seeing the desperate faces of the land-hungry, oblivious to the fact that those same looks preceded crises in other parts of the continent. While the need to vent national disgust at the events in Oodi yesterday would require that we limit this editorial to the outrage Batswana collectively feel, we also humbly suggest land authorities look for a solution to this crisis somewhere in the billions of Pula being spent on the e-government project.

 

                                                                      Today's thought

 

                               "we want to have our heritage,because we are the owners of this land and because we belong here"

 

                                                        -The 1927 Grand Council of Americans Indians

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