The land question revisited

On three occasions this year, a local radio station (Gabz fm) has carried a morning live discussion on issues of land. The last one that pitted Lands Minister, Lebonaamang Mokalake and Dumelang Saleshando has prompted me to write this article to share a rare but popular perspective with the public.

The debate between the two was based on the proposed new land policy that will see local people benefit from a suggested quota of 70 percent.  In my response to all the issues raised in the debate, I write with a degree of authority on the subject of land as I have spent 15 months at Mogoditshane Subordinate Land Board both as chairman and member.For some of us, the announcement by President Ian Khama at a Bokaa Kgotla meeting that his government was working on such a policy was a great step in the right direction in addressing land problems in the country particularly in the periphery of Gaborone.  Land has become an attractive investment particularly in Tlokweng and Mogoditshane and the turn of events in these two localities emphasises the fact that the starting point is fixing the land problem.

Land as a basis of all economic activity is crucial for all citizens to own as that is one's means of empowerment. Equity in land distribution is what the new policy is supposed to address.  The idea of preferential treatment for locals came to Parliament by Odirile Motlhale and was bitterly crushed. This was not a brand new idea as Mmoloki Raletobana had on many occasions brought the idea through to the Land Board and to his constituents.  His suggestion was that the old system of allocating field owner's children plots as part of adequate compensation should be re-visited.  As chairman I fully supported the Gabane-born MP and even refined the idea further.  In a case where someone's field is re-possessed by the Land Board, they should be entitled to claim 10 percent of the area of the land they are giving up.

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This period, running from May 20 to 31 2024, is crucial for those who have not yet registered to vote. This announcement comes in response to a significant shortfall in registered voters following the recent registration period. As it stands, only 62% of the target number of voters registered, leaving a considerable gap.With Botswana's general elections scheduled for October, every eligible citizen needs to register and exercise their...

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