Viewing cable 04GABORONE2026
Title: HIGH COURTCASE DEVELOPMENTS: FIRST PEOPLE OF THE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04GABORONE20262004-12-10 11:03:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Gaborone
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 GABORONE 002026 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR AF/S DIFFILY 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV BC SAN CKGR
SUBJECT: HIGH COURTCASE DEVELOPMENTS: FIRST PEOPLE OF THE 
KALAHARI V. GOVERNMENT'OF BOTSWANA 
 
 
¶1. (C)  SUMMARY:  First People of the Kalahari's (FPK) High 
Court case against the Government of Botswana made slow 
progress during the month of November.  Developments outside 
the court room, including the FPK leader Roy Sesana's trip to 
the U.S. and U.K., the increasing involvement of Survival 
International (Sl) in the case, and the emergence of a plan to 
seek an audience with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, 
contributed to further international attention being given to 
the confrontation.  This internationalization of the dispute 
is likely to reinforce the GOB's position on the relocation of 
the Basarwa. Other NGOs in Botswana take a different strategy 
on the fate of the Basarwa and distance themselves from the 
FPK.   END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL STRENGTHENS TIES WITH FPK 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
¶2. (C) At the request of the defendant, the High Court 
temporarily suspended the Sat case in July to allow the FPK 
sufficient time to raise funds for a continuance. The FPK case 
against the Government of Botswana resumed last month. During 
the interim, the FPK overhauled its team of lawyers, dropping 
South African attorneys Glyn Williams and John Whitehead, as 
well as Motswana Chris DuPlessis.  British barrister Gordon 
Bonnet, whom Williams had originally insisted on including in 
the legal team, took over as lead counsel.  Puma Boko, a local 
attorney experienced in human rights cases, joined him. 
According to Alice Mogwe, Director of the Botswana Center for 
Human Rights (also known as Ditshwanelo), the reshuffling of 
attorneys reflected SI's growing influence with the FPK. 
Bonnet reportedly is closely associated with SI, and an 
employee of that organization accompanied him to the Court. 
SI also is said to have played a key role in flying FPK leader 
Roy Sesana to the U.K. and to the U.S. in August and September 
on tours to promote the group's cause and raise money. 
 
¶3. (C)  When asked about the respective roles of SI and 
Ditshwanelo in the  case, Sesana told PolOff that SI was now 
sponsoring the case.  Sesana's  assistant Jumanda asserted, 
however, that Bonnet's links to SI notwithstanding,  he ls 
volunteering as counsel for the FPK, not acting on behalf of 
SI. Sesana confessed to being uncertain of Ditshwanelo's role 
and indicated his intention to meet with Alice Mogwe to confer 
about this. 
 
------------------------------------- 
DITSHWANELO ASSISTING SAN MORE BROADLY 
------------------------------------- 
 
¶4. (C)  In a November 16 meeting with PolOff, Ms. Mogwe 
explained that Ditshwanelo remains a friend of and advocate 
for the Sat but has no role  in the current court case. 
Ditshwanelo, she said, had assisted FPK and other Sat not 
represented by that group to meet with the Government to 
express their needs, and even extract some compromises. 
Convinced that negotiation, rather than confrontation with the 
GOB was the most effective strategy, Ditshwanelo began to pull 
back earlier this year when it became clear that the FPK 
preferred a court battle.  At this point, according to Alice 
Mogwe, Ditshwanelo still seeks to assist Sat  in ways not 
connected to the court case and intends to resume working with 
them  in negotiations with the Government when the court case 
finally concludes. 
 
--------------- 
FIRST PEOPLES OF THE KALAHARI NOT SOLE VOICE FOR SAN 
--------------- 
 
¶5. (U)  Ditshwanclo is not the only group concerned about San 
rights that has distanced itself from the FPK case.  On 
November 25, Kuru Trust launched 
 "Voices of the San", a 
hefty, detailed, beautifully-illustrated volume celebrating 
Sat culture.  The event, held in Gaborone, attracted a large, 
high-profile crowd.  The UNDP Representative gave the keynote 
address; the MP for Ghanzi was in the  audience.  No members 
of FPK were present, however.  Its absence underscores the 
distance Kuru Trust, an umbrella organization including many 
projects that advance Sat development, maintains from Sesana's 
group.  And in a recent newspaper interview with the newly 
elected BDP MP from Ghanzi District, Christian De Graaf, he 
was quoted as stating flatly that most Sat/Basarwa in his 
district are happy with the relocation out of the Central 
Kalahari Game Reserve and into the village of New Xade. 
Representatives of Sat groups near Shakawe, in the northwest 
Ngamiland District, during a briefing session with the DCM who 
visited the area from December 3-5, also distanced themselves 
from the FPK. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
DELAYS DUE TO TECHNICALITES AND RISING CRIME IN GABORONE 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
¶6. (U)  When the High Court hearings resumed on November 3, 
lead counsel for the state  Sidney Pilane challenged Boko's 
right to represent the applicants.  Pilane  argued that Boko 
needed a power of attorney signed by each of the 242 
applicants in the case.  The court ruled that because a letter 
signed by 131 former CKGR residents had instructed Roy Sesana 
to engage a new attorney, and Boko had obtained a power of 
attorney signed by Sesana, Boko could properly represent those 
applicants.  The remaining applicants in the case, the court 
concluded, were without representation since DuPlessis, 
Whitehead and Williams 
had withdrawn. 
¶7. (U)  After just one day of substantive hearings, the case 
was again  delayed.  On November 6, thugs assaulted Pilane by 
the roadsides stabbed him repeatedly, and left him seriously 
wounded.  The state requested a delay until its lead counsel 
could return to courtroom.  The High Court agreed to resume on 
November 22. The applicants continued to present witnesses 
until the court adjourned for the holidays on December 1. 
Hearings are scheduled to resume on January 17. 
 
------------------------------------ 
WITNESSES DESCRIBE FORCED RELOCATION 
------------------------------------ 
 
¶8. (U)  The witnesses for the FPK thus far have sought to 
establish that the relocation process was coercive. They have 
testified that political officials told them that they would 
have to leave the CKGR.  The uniformed police officers who 
came to move them to the resettlement points, they claimed, 
intimidated and mistreated them.  Several said they had lost 
livestock in the process and had seen their dwellings 
destroyed by government officers to discourage their return. 
The state presented evidence that residents of the reserve had 
signed agreements to relocate and had received compensation. 
Witnesses countered that they did not understand the documents 
they had signed or the amount of compensation they were to 
receive. One witness, however, did state that he knowingly 
signed the agreement, received the compensation and then 
returned to the CGKR. 
 
¶9. (U)  Witnesses described the resettlement village of New 
Xade as a crime-ridden and 'foreign' environment.  In 
contrast, GOB sources have argued that New Xade is virtually 
identical to Old Xade in the CKGR, except that it boasts more 
public amenities. State counsel cited an anthroPologist's 
descriptions of Sat life in the CKGR in the 1960s to establish 
that San customs are identical those of other Batswana.  The 
implication of this argument is that there is no need for the 
GOB to treat the San differently from any other Batswana. 
 
----------------------------- 
FPK SEEKS AUDIENCE WITH UNSYG 
---------------------- 
 
¶10. (U)  In a November 24 conversation, Scsana and Jumanda 
informed PolOff that Rupert Isaacson is now trying to secure a 
meeting 
for Sesana with UN Secretary  General Kofi Annan. 
Isaacson, who is affiliated with the Indigenous Land Rights 
Fund, helped organize the August/September trip to the US and 
the associated fund-raising efforts.  Jumanda did not indicate 
the likelihood of this meeting's materializing.  The meeting 
would aim to increase international pressure on the GOB to 
change its policies relating to the Sat. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
- 
 
¶11.  (C)  The FPK and the COB continue to tread their divergent 
paths and claim authority for different narratives.  The FPK's 
strategy to internationalize this issue through fund-raising 
abroad, working with well-funded foreign NGOs, and engaging 
the United Nations is understandable, if counterproductive in 
the long run.  The COB, accustomed as it is to being praised 
by the international community, responds by asserting that the 
FPK is misrepresenting the facts and deliberately embarrassing 
the government before the world, in order to force the GOB's 
hand and cede to FPK's demands of restoring Sat access to the 
CKGR, their right to hunt, and the provision of public 
services there.  Whatever the outcome of this court case 
however, the Sat, like many other remote area dwellers (RADs) 
will still face the challenges of poverty and marginalization. 
The FPK's current strategy is likely to hamper any future 
cooperative role with the government in addressing the 
perennial problem of rural poverty, once the trial has ended. 
HUGGINS