Botswana: Trust Manager Dismisses Reports

| February 9, 2016

Maun - Lake Ngami Conservation Trust chairperson, Mr Frisco Gabokakangwe has dismissed reports that there is animosity between the trust and the new Lake Ngami Fish Marketing Cooperative Society.

In an interview, Mr Gabokakangwe said he was surprised to learn from the media that the cooperative society leadership claimed to be sidelined whilst the two parties have never met to discuss any issues regarding their mandates.

He said the trust works closely with the community, adding that their mandate was to ensure that all communities benefit from available resources in their areas. He said the trust implements decisions made by the affected communities.

Six villages have been designated as member communities in the trust, and have been given the responsibility of implementing the Lake Ngami management plan. The villages are Toteng, Legothwana, Bothatogo, Sehithwa, Bodibeng and Kareng.

Mr Gabokakangwe said the trust was ready to work with the cooperative if its mandate aims to benefit the community. He said they have realised that some organisations use the community to serve their interests.

"If the cooperative is an independent body that wants to carry out some business activities at the lake, they could submit their proposal to the board for consideration. As we speak we have never had any discussions with them so they could not say that they were sidelined," he added.

The trust management plan proposes a variety of ideas which would help potential tourism businesses and the community to tap benefits from the conservation area.

Mr Gabokakangwe said as they prepare to open for fishing this year, they would engage companies to provide temporary services such as hiring of ablutions. "If the cooperative is interested in any activity, it is welcome to advance its interest," said Mr Gabokakangwe.

The trust is mandated to manage the lake and is expected to address environmental challenges which became unbearable resulting in the suspension of fishing for a year.

The chairperson said there was a delay in addressing the challenges, but said temporary measures would be put in place while waiting for the Environmental Impact Assessment study to be conducted before any developments could commence.

The cooperative was established last year after fishermen secured a lucrative market in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The main objective of the cooperative is to facilitate the marketing of fish products.

Other responsibilities of the cooperative are to conduct fish marketing for all members for the local and export market, and to ensure that fishing business meets all the stipulated health requirements.

The cooperative chairperson, Mr Bareetsi Bogaisang said there was no relationship between the trust and the cooperative.

He explained that they wanted to have talks, but that the meeting never materialised because officers from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks who were supposed to convene the meeting kept on postponing.

Mr Bogaisang further revealed that the cooperative had discussions with the Department of Cooperatives, and "we were advised to meet with the trust to exchange our mandates and see how best we could work together."

He said all they want was the trust to recognise the existence of the cooperative and its role, adding that the community could benefit more from their organisation if they could understand their mandate.

Source: BOPA

Category: Technology

Comments are closed.