It was with mixed feelings when I heard the judgement from the Basarwa versus Government case. I can understand the Basarwas need to go back to the place where they grew up, but when that place has nothing to offer you anymore I wonder if it is a good idea and ain't they being just a tad bit foolish.
When the Basarwas heard the judgement they were dancing and singing, but I wonder if it has sunk in yet that, yes they can go back, but Government doesn't have to give them the services that they have gotten used to. In the end, in my opinion, The Botswana Government has won. They are not obliged to help the Basarwas in CKGR. They don't even have to pay for they legal fees and bare in mind this court case has been going on for years and most of these people don't have jobs.
Baswaras will greatly suffer if they don't get Government's help. The CKGR is in a desert area where there is little or no water. The next town is extremely far for people to go and buy food and other necessities. It is really in the middle of nowhere and the fact that SI was fighting to return these people to nothing really boils my blood. Who knows what stories they were told by these organisation when the case was still on. Now they are going to have to face the consequences. The Government was simply trying to bring Basarwas closer to bigger towns where they could enjoy the services given to every Motswana. Because they were so far, bring those services to them was very costly. Since the Government provides free ARV treatment to every HIV sufferer, pays for school from primary to tietery level for every Motswana, you would see why they needed to reduce cost where they could, while bringing Basarwa closer to social developments.
Prior to the relocation, Government provided services like food rations, water, health facilities and transportation of children to and from school outside the reserve and these services cost government more than P55 000 per month and now these services are gone with the government not obliged to restore them to the residents of CKGR. So how pry tell SI would the Basarwas survive without those government hand-outs?
The Basarwas lawyer, Gordon Bennett, said that the Basarwas should decide,even if it meant resuming a 'simple existence as hunter-gatherers'. WHAT!!! In this day and age, does he really think that people could survive and make something of themselves through that existence? How would they take their kids to school if they can't pay for a bus? How would they afford necessities without money? I mean they is NO money and improvement in life by being a hunter-gatherer. They only thing is being a spectacle for Western tourist.
Roy Sesana,the leader in this case and the fellow in bed with SI was extremely happy about the result. But he doesn't even live in the CKGR. Thanks to the pounds given to him by SI, he has a lovely expensive car and a huge house in the capital city Gaborone and his children are driven to expensive English medium schools in Gaborone. He doesn't even know what it is like waiting for water at the reserve and he said he was happy for 'his people'. How is he going to help 'his people' get food, water or access to health facilities when he only thinks about them when it comes to putting his face in papers and travelling to places like London and USA.
The Government announced last night that the residents moving back to the CKGR will have to apply for special permits to kill wildlife. People moving in and out of the reserve will have to apply for permits. Animals, like cattle are not permitted to move in or out of the reserve. You have to get permission to bring water into the reserve. And only people of the CKGR are permitted to come into the CKGR. So really what victory did they receive?
Mr Bennett said that the Basarwas were not really interested in Government services but I wonder if that would still be the case when they arrive to nothing.