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Ministry of Local Government (MLG)
A cry for help in Ngamiland
12/09/16
Residents of Sehithwa and surrounding settlements gathered at Sehithwa Kgotla recently in need of answers from the Vice President of Botswana Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi as to why their village seemed not to be mentioned anywhere in the country’s development plan and to also express their concerns over the recent suspension of fishing which they say has drastically changed their lives as it was their main source of income and food.

A cry for help in Ngamiland

Residents of Sehithwa and surrounding settlements gathered at Sehithwa Kgotla recently in need of answers from the Vice President of Botswana Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi as to why their village seemed not to be mentioned anywhere in the country’s development plan and to also express their concerns over the recent suspension of fishing which they say has drastically changed their lives as it was their main source of income and food.

Sehithwa Chief Kgosi Dithapo raised concern that they had long requested for a service center in their village to avoid travelling over a hundred kilometers to Maun when in need of services. He explained that even this year there is no sign of them being included in either the NDP or ESP initiative. Kgosi Dithapo also laid the issue of the suspension of fishing which he says has now raised poverty levels in his village as his people make a living out of fishing. He requested that a decision be reached to lift this suspension so that the dignity of Ngamiland people lives can be restored.

He said despite the lake being closed, a lot of people continue to lose their lives trying to ply their trade illegally there. “Fishing has been our source of pride and income for a long time and many people have not come to terms with the suspension hence they resort to stealing the fish, which puts their lives in danger as they now fish individually to avoid being reported.”

The Village Development Committee (VDC) Chairperson Miss Molathiwa appreciated the four million Pula that was given to Sehithwa village for their trust fund and also the Ipelegeng initiative. She however explained that as it is known that different people make a living from the available resources around them, the people of Ngamiland have relied on fish as their source of income for years until last year when a decision was made to suspend fishing due to the pollution of water and the high death rates that happened in the lake.

Miss Molathiwa stated that despite the laid reasons for the suspension of fishing, this has left some of the youth in a dare situation as they cannot pay loans they took from the Youth Development Fund to start fishing business. She also explained that since fishing is part of their lives, they were considering starting business with it for their trust fund but it has now been suspended hence they have to resort to other business opportunities which they are not even confident about.

Residents of Sehithwa therefore pleaded with the Vice President to advice accordingly on re-opening of fishing explaining that the fish they took from the lake helped them pay school fees and to also feed themselves and their children. They also asked him to plead with the area Police to stop burning their canoes, fish and temporary structures they find by the lake explaining that it is a waste of fish to burn it just because it has been fished illegally.

For his part Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi said the issue of the service center and other developments have been brought before Parliament by the area Members of Parliament and assured them that they will be attended to.

When addressing the issue of fishing he said they are also working on finding measures that could be put in place to work for both the government of Botswana and the people of Ngamiland and Botswana as a whole.         

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