- The deceased ‘son loses case to bury his father in his ancestral CKGR land, now faces jail
- Celebrity lawyer Kgosi Ngakaagae throws weight behind Basarwa against government
A Mosarwa man is fighting government tooth and nail for burial of his father at his ancestral land. He would like his father to be buried next to his grandfather and uncles where they originated, government would have none of it, and will rather jail the Mosarwa man for obstruction of burial process and contempt of court in 10 days, and it is day 5 today.
Lesiame Pitseng last week lost a case where he was asking to be allowed to bury his father Pitseng Gaoberekwe at Metsiamanong in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).Gaoberekwe’s body has been laying in a Gantsi morgue for 120 days and counting.
The Gaborone High Court ruled in favour of government that Gaoberekwe is not a resident of CKGR and was never part of the landmark case where some Basarwa families won against government after resisting relocation from a place which is a game reserve. The Basarwa that time argued that the land is their ancestral land and they not going anywhere.
In the case which has been running for months, the State submitted that the deceased was not a beneficiary of the 2006 High Court judgement of Sesana and Others versus the Attorney General because he was not part of the 189 people who formed the case.
Leading the state’s case Advocate Sidney Pilane said Basarwa should not be given preferential treatment and has no right to be buried in a game reserve. “He is deceased and no longer exists as a person with rights. He is now a thing. And the question arises whether anybody can assert his right when he is deceased and what right does the applicant have to assert the dead person’s right?” argued Pilane.
Pilane told the court that Gaoberekwe should be buried in New Xade where Basarwa were relocated years ago to give way for a national park. According to Pilane, that is where the deceased’s homestead is.
Pitseng’s case was taken by local lawyer Nelson Ramaotwana on pro bono who told the court that it is in Pitseng’s right and duty to bury his father in his ancestral land. He also said the deceased has a home in CKGR where Pitseng stays. Pitseng was ordered by the court to bury his father outside CKGR or face 30 days imprisonment.
Celebrated local lawyer Kgosi Ngakaagae has joined forces with Ramaotwana to fight on the same corner with Pitseng and they are applying for a stay of execution on the order which seeks to jail the
Ngakaagae told journalists that the state is arrogant and pursuing ethnic bigotry. He said government is doing tribalism or racism because it want to prevail on Basarwa’s rights. Kgosi said just like he can be buried where he originates in Mahalapye, so Basarwa can be buried or in the CKGR as they are inhabitants of the area and even the First People of this country.