Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mixed reaction to Lake Ngami banning

Key stakeholders in the controversial ban on fishing at Lake Ngami and Lake Xau have held public meetings to discuss the issues. These come in the aftermath of last week’s announcement by government to indefinitely ban fishing. Early last week the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama. said environmental pollution and the chaotic situation at the lakes for motivating the freezing of fishing activities.

Last Thursday, the Ngami Fisheries Association convened a meeting at the main kgotla in Maun at which they resolved to demand an official written document from the minister revoking fishing activities, and had also resolved to seek redress from the courts. On the other hand the Lake Ngami Conservation Trust convened a kgotla meeting at Sehitwa on Wednesday, to which they invited the Lake Ngami Fishing Multi-Purpose Cooperative and the Ngami Fisheries Association. The association declined to attend that meeting and instead held their own at Maun kgotla on the same day.

The association’s chairman, Loago Mokanki, told The Ngami Times they had resolved to abandon the legal route and instead seek an audience with President Ian Khama.The Sehitwa kgotla meeting welcomed the suspension of fishing activities, though residents expressed unhappiness with the abrupt manner in which it was made. The chairman of Lake Ngami Conservation Trust, Frisco Gabokakangwe, assured residents that the Minister’s decision should not seen as “a punitive measure” but is generally aimed at straightening out the situation. Instead the decision seeks to ensure that fishing activities not only address environmental concerns but also benefit the communities living around the lakes.
He told the kgotla meeting that the Trust aims to ensure that the six villages of Bodibeng, Bothatogo, Kareng, Legothwana, Toteng and Sehitwa take control of activities around the lake though their trust. He also dismissed rumours that the banning was another way for the government to fence-off Lake Ngami.

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