Sesana calls for opposition unity

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TSHABONG: Leader of the First People of the Kalahari and Basarwa human rights campaigner Roy Sesana has urged the opposition to unite and defeat the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as a bloc at the next general elections.

The outspoken Mosarwa leader, who was a guest speaker at the Botswana National Front (BNF) national conference held in Tsabong, told the gathering at the weekend that if by 2014 the opposition failed to unseat the BDP, he would hang himself.

He told his audience that as the masses they have the power over their leadership (in BNF and opposition in general).

Sesana said they must make sure opposition leaders listen to and take direction from the masses, adding that every leadership derive strength and power from the people they lead.

He said it is of paramount importance that the opposition parties approach the coming 2014 general elections, as a solid bloc if they hope to oust the BDP, which has been in power for too long, adding that "it is tired and abusing state power".

"Naare gaba nke ba lapa marago batho ba, gab a ganella mo setilong jaana," he charged. The Basarwa human rights activist said the BDP has run out of steam and talent and that it continues to field old people who should be getting pensions. This, he said, shows the ruling party is in its death throes, urging the opposition to move swiftly and strike the death blow through opposition cooperation.

Sesana, who told the conference that he was once a BNF activist under the tutelage of party founder Dr Kenneth Koma, implored the members to grow out of in-fighting that has dogged the party for a long time.

"Go nale molemo mongwe o lathelwang gore e re dithopho di tsena be go tikanwa ka ditilo," he said.

He said that the BNF is fortunate to have Duma Boko as president, saying the man is a fearless and hard working leader. Sesana said he knows this for Boko, who is also a human-rights lawyer, represented Basarwa during their landmark case in which they were suing the government over the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).

"Le bolaile le sa tshola thobolo. Lo labile hela ka matho, phohu be e wa-you have made a great killing for electing him your leader," he said. On Basarwa and their CKGR plight, he said government doest not provide them with water yet they are also citizens of this country. He said water is important and without it, people would die.

Sesana, who disclosed that he stays in the CKGR, also said they need amenities like clinics so that they can have easy access to health and life-saving information on issues like the need to use condoms to guard against HIV/AIDS infections.

"Go nale bolwetse bongwe, bo rutwa mo dipateleng gore ga o nale keletso nngwe, tsaa sengwe o se dirise (there is a certain disease of which people are advised to use something to avoid getting infected)," he said.

The human-rights activist said besides Basarwa, Batswana as a whole are facing a serious challenge when it comes to land ownership. He said the youth are the hard-hit as government looks intent on taking all land belonging to their parents. He said he is also concerned that most productive land is in the hands of foreigners. Some of them own as many as 30 farms on which they rear cattle and engage in game ranching activities. Batswana youth, he said, should also be given land so they can engage in sustainable economic activities like small stock farming.

Sesana dismissed government's youth empowerment programmes where the youth are given money and livestock without ensuring they have land on which they can pursue profitable and sustainable businesses.

"Party tsa opposition a di kopane, di ntshe batho mo setilong, gongwe go ta nna le batho ba bata reetsang (opposition parties must unite to unseat this government, perhaps we will then have people who will listen to people's concerns)," he said.

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