President Ian Khama’s latest move to kiss and make up with some leaders of the Basarwa community left the inhabitants of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve(CKGR)settlements, their advocates, stakeholders and funders in a state of confusion.
At the centre of the confusion is the government’s sudden change of heart over its hard-line stance on issues that affect Basarwa living within the CKGR. While some appear to be comfortable with the latest development, others are already sensing a well-calculated strategy by Ian Khama to paralyse the Basarwa movement.
The government’s sudden change of heart comes a few days after President Khama set up a task force to look into the Basarwa’s leader and hero Roy Sesana’s appeal for mercy for Basarwa from Khama in a meeting that was held at the Office of the President (OP) recently.
In that meeting Khama and Sesana are said to have discussed the government and Basarwa’s differences and made undisclosed concessions to each other, sources close to the meeting told Mmegi.
According to sources, Sesana’s message to Khama was that Basarwa were going through a rough patch. “He told Khama that, ‘...it is enough, Basarwa have suffered, please have mercy on us’.”
The government had delayed to restore services in the CKGR after they lost a case in which they wanted Basarwa to vacate the settlement to create room for developments in the area.
Following Sesana and Khama’s meeting, Khama dispatched a three-ministers taskforce to meet Basarwa and dialogue on the way foward. The taskforce is led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, assisted by the Minister of Local government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane and Tshekedi Khama, the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism.
The taskforce, Venson-Moitoi said, has conducted a series of meetings in the CKGR and made several interventions and achievements. She said one intervention that the task force has made is to end the water crisis.
Ghanzi council documents before Mmegi read: “...government has also decided to provide portable water through Ghanzi District Council to residents of CKGR with immediate effect, the council has to consider alternatives like positioning storage tanks in settlements filled periodically or outsourcing provision of water, the CKGR senior officials Inter-Ministerial Commitee is in consultation with the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources for assistance with the provision of portable water.”
Basarwa venture into tourism, Sesana gets a job
In an interview with Mmegi Venson-Moitoi said: “...the government has agreed with Basarwa of the CKGR to mobilise them into community groups
Following that, the government has sent a directive to the Ghanzi District Council ordering them to create a post for Sesana.
A document which Mmegi is in possession of on the employment for the Basarwa advocate, says Sesana’s position of community facilitator at CKGR is necessitated by the need to have a person who can play a facilitating role between the government and the community of CKGR regarding their requests for provision of services and establishment of income generating projects within the game reserve.
The document further says, “The council has rationalised the post of Administration Assistant I (B2) position. The post will be offered on contract for a period of three years.”
The document titled ‘Report to the Special Finance Committee (Ghanzi District Council)’ further says the government has decided to appoint a community facilitator with immediate effect who will be based in the CKGR.
Sesana, the document says, shall be the chairperson of a CKGR Committee, which will be comprised of one representative from six settlements being Molapo, Mothomelo, Metsiamanong, Gugama, Kikao and Gope. The document further says the committee members shall receive a sitting allowance of P250.
The position of community facilitator attracts a monthly salary of P3,800 including sitting allowances from his CKGR committee. His four key roles to be undertaken are that he is a “liaison officer between the residents of CKGR and the government through Ghanzi District Council, chairperson of the CKGR Consultative Committee, initiates discussions on relevant CKGR issues in consultation with the residents and lastly play a leading role at the local level on behalf of the residents’ Consultative Committee.”
In addition, the outspoken Sesana will have a secretary who shall also be the secretary to the CKGR Committee.
Sesana has no formal education and his long time ally and confidante, Jumanta Gakelebone, has been his English interpreter for decades. Although a workaholic and go-getter of note, Sesana has no work experience in the public service and or any formal employment. But those close to the deal say he has been assured support and training where possible to equip him to cope with the demands of his new job.