Roy Sesana, the leader of the First People of the Kalahari has claimed that 400 Basarwa or bushmen residing in the five villages inside the vast Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) were disenfranchised during the 2009 General Elections.
Meanwhile the independent Electoral commission (IEC) principal spokesman Osupile Maroba has confirmed that indeed the names of the five villages listed by Sesana do not appear on the voter’s roll. Gantsi District commissioner Utlwang Kerekang also confirms that they had no polling stations and did not register voters at the five settlements inside the CKGR.
The five settlements which Sesana claims over 400 Basarwa were denied the right to vote are Molapo, Metsiamanong, Mothomela, Gugama or Kukama and Gope. “People were living in those settlements during the elections. They did not vote when the rest of the nation went to the polls,” Sesana claimed.
However the Gantsi District Commissioner says it is government policy not to provide essential services inside the CKGR but added that while she accepts that there are people living in the five settlements, the figure provided by Sesana is questionable. “ Yes, there are people there(inside the CKGR) and we did not provide voting facilities for them, but the figure being quoted is questionable”, she said without mentioning her office’s actual estimate.
Kerekang said they expected Basarwa in the region to vote at New Xade and Xere settlements.
Molepolole District Commissioner George
Keutlwetse Lekgoba, senior elections officer at Letlhakeng, also said they did not service any other polling station other than Kauduane, in their area of operation during the General Elections.
The District wildlife coordinator at Gantsi was not willing to discuss the figure but confirmed there are people residing in the five settlements.
The Basarwa living in the five settlements inside the CKGR returned there voluntarily following the successful high Court Application of 2002, which they later won in 2006. However the Botswana government has refused to service the Basarwa in the CKGR with basic amenities, opting to provide those necessities just outside the wildlife area at New Xade and Kauduane.
Early this week Sesana exclusively told Mmegi his organization has ended talks with president Ian Khama over the possible resolution of their land issue and declared they are taking the matter to the International Court of Justice.