Botswana's President this week handed out blankets and sweets to Bushmen in a relocation centre. His action comes in the middle of a court case in which the Bushmen are suing his government for the right to return to their ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).
The hand-out is a repeat of a previous visit to another relocation centre, in which food and blankets were distributed shortly before the court case was due to begin. That event aroused concern around the world.
One Bushman declared today, 'These clothes are not our land. I will take these clothes and still go back to my land.'
Another Bushman told Survival, 'The reason the President was here was to bribe the Bushmen, so that they forget about the CKGR issue and their land.'
Stephen Corry, director of Survival said today, 'There will never be justice for Bushmen in Botswana if the head of state thinks it is fair to visit another eviction site, only two days after the court has adjourned, to give handouts to the Bushmen in an attempt to persuade them not to return to their lands. The President is treating the Bushmen like children, trying to seduce them with sweets and clothes. Again, the government's actions simply reinforce the way it looks down on the Bushmen and their chosen way of life. It's as if the government assumes the Bushmen are already the beggars it is trying to turn them into.'
For further information, please contact Miriam Ross at Survival International on: +44 20 7687 8734 or email firstname.lastname@example.org