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‘He couldn’t care less!’

Hikuama furious at Autlwetse over Bayei recognition matter

Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kgotla Autlwetse says government has no plans to provide a kgotla for the Bayei tribe nor pay their paramount chief a salary.

Autlwetse was responding to a parliamentary question by Ngami legislator, Caterpillar Hikuama, who has since expressed disappointment at the Ministry’s stance.

Hikuama feels the response demonstrates how ‘rude and reckless’ the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) can be.

In a brief interview, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) man told Okavango Voice that Autlwetse’s response suggests he could not care less about the rights and concerns of the Bayei people.

In Parliament, Hikuama had wanted to know the progress made by government in completing the recognition process and when the Bayei paramount chief will receive an office and a salary like the rest of his counterparts in the country.

The debate unfolded as follows:

AUTLWETSE: Mr Speaker, the recognition of Bayei people has been done in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of Bogosi Act of 2008, as they met the criteria outlined thereunder.

The terms and conditions of the recognition of their Kgosi are very specific that, such recognition shall not prejudice the status and operations of the existing tribal administrative structures and hierarchy put in place for effective and efficient delivery of tribal administration services in Botswana.

Further, the recognition does not in any way cause prejudice to any other existing tribal community rights, and or privileges. Gumare Village already has a Kgotla office, therefore, there are no plans to provide yet another Kgotla office.

ASSISTANT MINISTER: Autlwetse

As stated above Mr Speaker, the recognition should not prejudice the status and operations of the existing administration.

There will be no official payment effected as the recognition does not in any way confer rights and privileges that are not otherwise granted and or conferred by any existing law.

HIKUAMA: What was the rationale and purpose for the recognition?

AUTLWETSE: In the body of my answer, I clearly indicated that, Section 3 of Bogosi Act of 2008, which is in the public domain, is the one that actually guided in coming up with this, as well as the judgment of the High Court in this particular case.

HIKUAMA: Then one would be justified to refer to the recognition as fake.

SPEAKER: Are you agreeing now or you are asking the supplementary? What is your supplementary?

HIKUAMA: I am saying, would it be correct for one to say, the recognition was fake in relation to Section 3 of the Bogosi Act?

AUTLWETSE: Mr Speaker, it is very unfortunate because I cannot deal with perceptions or personal opinions.

KENNY KAPINGA (OKAVANGO MP): Honourable Minister, in the absence of any judicial and administrative powers, what does the recognition of the Bayei Chief mean to you?

MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT: …(Murmurs)…

SPEAKER: Ke mang yo o sa utlwang? (Did anyone not get what he said?)

AUTLWETSE: Mr Speaker, that is what Bayei actually wanted, they wanted recognition and they have been recognised as a tribe in Botswana.

If they are not satisfied with that recognition, it is entirely upon them to take it further. I cannot tell them what to do.

HONOURABLE MEMBERS: …(Murmurs)…

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