Parley probes Khama’s land remarks


Legislators were last week muzzled from discussing President Ian Khama’s announcement that he would use his executive powers to enforce land quotas in certain areas.

The National Assembly authorities said a probe needed to be first be made into whether the President made the statements.

The state broadcaster Btv, last week aired a clip in which Khama said he would employ his executive powers to ensure that the  Land Boards give priority to native residents of localities in close proximity to cities when allocating residential plots. He made the promise when addressing a kgotla meeting in Morwa.

The President’s announcement came after legislators deferred to the Winter Parliament, a new Land Policy which does not contain land quotas and continues the ‘equitable distribution’ philosophy.

Deputy speaker, Kagiso Molatlhegi ruled that it would be unfair to debate the issue before seeking clarity from the Office of the President. Moreover, he said it was impossible for the Minister of Lands and Housing, Prince Maele, to deliberate on the matter, as he was not present when Khama made the remarks. 

“We will seek clarity from the Office of the President to establish if indeed the President has said so or not,” said Molatlhegi.

Kgatleng West MP, Gilbert Mangole had asked that Maele explain whether it was true that the land quota system would be implemented by presidential discretion.

“The President has announced that he will use his executive powers to institute land quotas contrary to what Parliament agrees on.  The policy that is being debated now has no mention of such,” said Mangole.

“Parliament is busy commenting on the land policy but (the) President is making other statements. I wonder why we are discussing this policy then?” said Mangole.

 In the Btv clip, Khama said while he was aware that every citizen had the democratic right to live wherever they pleased in Botswana, he also noted that the government was obliged to assist native residents of peri-urban villages to secure land in their home soil.

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