MAUN: The Minister for Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama is the most wanted by communities in the Okavango. At recent meetings by the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Wildlife, Tourism, Natural Resources and Climate Change, community leaders expressed frustration that they always request minister Khama to visit them, but he never shows up.
Khwai chief Merafe Amos said his community has made repeated requests to the minister to no joy. Amos said they have, among other concerns, wished to put to Khama, the swelling elephant population that destroy properties and endanger resident’s lives.
“Since he became the minister he has never visited us to hear our concerns as the previous ministers,” said Amos.
The chief said this is surprising as minister Khama always visits nearby Safari camps in the Okavango Delta, but never comes to see the people.
Chairperson of the Ngamiland Community-based Natural Resources Programme forum, Olekanye Thakadu expressed the same sentiments saying they have made repeated calls to see the minister, but have been unsuccessful. He said the forum wanted to see the minister pertaining to burning issues like the hunting ban and the land bank that communities are complaining about.
Lake Ngami Community trust chairman, Frisco Gabokakangwe echoed the sentiments calling on the committee to request the minister to consult with the communities to find
“He (Khama) is fine as his constituency is in Serowe, but he is disadvantaging us in Ngamiland. If he does not solve these problems, we are going to lose elections,” Gabokakangwe said.
In response, a member of the Parliamentary committee and an outspoken BDP Member of Parliament for Nata- Gweta Paulson Majaga, took the argument further saying Khama does not only stay away from communities in Ngamiland but also in the Nata- Gweta constituency. “What you are complaining about is also happening in my constituency. Minister Khama never addresses the people on issues affecting his ministry.”
Majaga suggested that perhaps Khama is overwhelmed by duties of his ministry saying the portfolio committee will recommend that an assistant minister be appointed for Khama to relieve him of extra duties.