Opposition party stands with the Bushmen

November 17, 2006

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One of Botswana’s leading opposition parties, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), has attacked President Mogae over the eviction of the Bushmen.

The deputy leader of the BCP, Dr Kesetigile Gabotswang, who recently led a BCP fact-finding mission to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, demanded that the evicted Bushmen be allowed to return to the reserve, and said that the government’s reasons for forcefully evicting the Bushmen are ‘not convincing’.

Dr Gabotswang said the President showed a lack of ‘maturity’ when dealing with ‘national issues such as the relocation of Basarwa’ [Bushmen].

He declared that the BCP mission’s findings contradicted the ‘government’s false argument that the Basarwa were relocated from CKGR to access education, health and other social services’. The mission concluded the Bushmen were ‘effectively forcefully removed’ by ‘threats and acts of intimidation perpetrated by government agents’.

Dr Gabotswang stated the Botswana government was ‘proving difficult to trust’, and ignored ‘the concerns of eminent persons like Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and continental bodies like the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at her own peril’.