Mmegi Online :: MPs call for end to "bickering" with Basarwa
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Last Updated
Wednesday 20 March 2019, 15:58 pm.
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MPs call for end to "bickering" with Basarwa

*Want priority for wildlife over people reviewed
By Staff Writer Thu 21 Mar 2019, 02:26 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: MPs call for end to "bickering" with Basarwa








The Member of Parliament for Maun West, Tawana Moremi, has called for a harmonious resolution to "the bickering" between government and Basarwa over relocation of the latter from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) in order not to taint Botswana's tourism industry.Moremi appealed to the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, to protect the industry because the country's economy is heavily dependent on tourism and diamond revenues. Debating the Revised Wildlife Policy in Parliament yesterday, Moremi said President Ian Khama should encourage the Minister of Justice, Defence and Security Ndelu Seretse to expedite conclusion of the case. He said an amicable close to this case would silence Survival International and other critics while prolonging it was hurting tourism.

Appearing to disregard the rights of Basarwa, Moremi said, gave SI ammunition to campaign against Botswana diamonds and tourism.
"A comprehensive human-wildlife approach is needed," he said. The MP for Okavango, Bagalatia Arone, entered the debate by saying the perception that the government values animals more than people is rife in his constituency. A more human-centric strategy is overdue, especially for the Okavango where people are inherently conservationist. "Every area had wild animals in this country and many did not conserve this resource (while) our people in the Okavango did, yet they do not benefit from their actions," Arone said.

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It is disheartening that while the Okavango is the richest in wildlife, its people are the poorest and are often killed by animals, he added.

The MP for Maun East, Frank Ramsden, said the policy should ensure that the tourism sector benefits and sustains community livelihoods, as opposed to the current situation where expatriates enjoy almost all the dividends. He called for greater regulation of the mobile safari sector in order to include local players. Ramsden suggested that instead of established safari companies, Batswana could purchase vehicles to transport tourists within Gaborone and to other centres. The MP for Boteti North, Slumber Tsogwane, complained that areas reserved for wild animals are now encroaching onto communal land, thus creating more conflict.

Meanwhile, it has become increasingly clear over the years that the scope and complexity of wildlife conservation has developed beyond the guidance of the Wildlife Conservation Policy of 1986, hence the call for its revision. Presenting a statement on the Draft Revised Wildlife Policy before Parliament yesterday, Khama said it takes the approach of a development instrument that lays emphasis on stakeholder involvement through devolution of wildlife management to landowners and communities. The draft policy embraces the principle of sustainable rural development and poverty eradication. It also establishes an institutional, regulatory and participatory framework for wildlife conservation and management.

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