Ngamiland residents and many others who had been for over a year now been looking forward to getting fish from Lake Ngami will have to wait a little longer according to the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama. Responding to the Member of Parliament for Okavango Bagalatia Arone, who had requested the minister to give an update on Lake Ngami, Khama revealed that after his ministry made the decision to impose a ban on all fishing activities at Lake Ngami and hand over its management to the local trust they had anticipated all necessary processes to be complete to date. Unfortunately according to Khama this has not materialised.
Khama told parliament that due to the fact that the trust is going to make developments at and near the lake which includes a camp site and a lodge, they were as per procedure requested to conducted an Environmental Management Plan and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). “We had thought the EIA would have been complete by now, but unfortunately it looks like its going to require a month and half or two months to complete,” Khama said. As a result Khama said the ban will in the meantime still be upheld. He meanwhile assured parliament that it was necessary to get everything right hence the delays were understandable. According to Khama he took the decision to impose the ban in order to stop over harvesting of fish and to protect the interest of local communities.
Although he commended Khama and his ministry for what he says was a good move and efforts to empower local communities , Maun West Member of parliament Tawana Moremi cautioned Khama for often being too quick to impose bans and restrictions not taking into considerations that it may at the end of the day directly affect local communities. Moremi cited the fishing ban itself, the hunting ban and tourism operators restrictions as some of the stringent measures imposed by Khama’s ministry with the alleged intent that that were geared at empowering at protecting communities while in fact it was the same communities who ended up suffering.
Khama however assure Moremi that his ministry will at all times ensure that for every restriction it impose, there is an alternative to empower locals. He indicated that the Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) policy that was expected to come out soon will clearly outline that the government has considers all communities’ interests and will empower them at all times.