Opposition party condemns evictions of Bushmen

September 22, 2006

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The Botswana Congress Party (BCP), one of the country's leading opposition parties, has condemned the Botswana government's eviction of the Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).

The BCP recently sent a fact-finding mission to the CKGR and the resettlement camps to consult directly with the Bushmen.

The leader of the mission and acting president of the BCP, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang, said Bushmen must not be forcefully assimilated or integrated into mainstream Botswana society.

He appealed to the government to accept that the Bushmen are the Indigenous people of Botswana.

According to the mission team, resettlement has resulted in immense social, economic and cultural cost to the Bushmen.

Dr Gobotswang stated that imposing a new way of life on people could destroy them and noted the suffering of the Bushmen in the resettlement camps where ‘high alcohol abuse has led to escalating assault cases and there is fear that their language might become extinct'.

The mission found that no real negotiations took place between the government and the Bushmen, except ‘persistent appeals by NGOs on behalf of the Bushmen'.

Its findings flatly contradict the allegations by Ditshwanelo, the Botswana Human Rights Organisation, that Survival's campaign in support of the Bushmen led to the collapse of negotiations between the Bushmen and the government.

‘It appears Survival only became involved when the negotiations had effectively collapsed since the government did not appear to be negotiating in good faith', the report states.

To read more about the BCP fact finding mission's report go to: https://www.mmegi.bw/2006/September/Thursday21/35185063725.html