6 March 2019

Botswana: Tawana Blames Whites for Taking Ngami Land

The MP for Maun West Tawana Moremi has blasted Government for giving Ngamiland people's land to the whites, who now dominate the tourism industry.

Tawana, who has since been vocal about the dispossession of his people for years, came up with guns blazing on Thursday attacking the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government for prioritising giving their land to the white's tourism moghuls.

Debating the recurrent budget proposal for the Ministry of Agriculture, Tawana was then rubbed the wrong way when some BDP MPs touched on the aspect of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Ngamiland.

Some of the MPs had said the cattle farming in Ngamiland should be no longer priority due to FMD crisis, therefore proposing that some part of the farming land be reserved for tourism purposes. This provoked Tawana who could not take any of that.

He said the white monopoly that is seemingly dominates large sums of the land across Ngami region is even taking agricultural and tribal land, adding that this move will impoverish his people and kill agriculture.

"Govt should stop giving our land in Ngami to the whites. We are now even beggars in our own rich tourism land. You are stealing from us - you the BDP govt and your White friends," he charged.

He said government continues to impoverish Batswana at the expense of whites, who are dominating the important sectors of the economy such as tourism, with Batswana having little or no benefit in the process.

MP Tawana said this has resulted in Batawana and Batswana at large being beggars in their own economy, calling on the government to monitor some of the safaris and lodges that keep on mushrooming around tourism areas.

Tawana cited the Moremi Game Reserve and Education Park as an example of expropriation that is being undertaken by Government.

Tawana suspects FMD sabotage

He did not also mince words when talked about the alleged government sabotage over failing to totally curb FMD in the region.

He bemoaned BMC's failures, saying the Maun abattoir has not been sustainable towards boosting the Ngamiland beef. Tawana also said the government should consider looking for the markets for Ngamiland beef, calling for the lifting of the export ban on their area's beef products.

Nkange MP Edwin Batshu also expressed concern over how the government has been failing to deal with FMD in the Ngami region, noting that the continuous habitual closures of the Maun and Francistown abattoirs was not giving back any value to the cattle keepers in the considered FMD zones.

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