Despite President Mokgweetsi Masisi‘s consistent remarks that he will fight with every weapon available to ensure that Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela paramount chief, Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela II returns back to Botswana, his Mangana regiment has dismissed these statements saying they are just political gimmicks.
In the run-up to 2014 general elections, Government was at loggerheads with Kgosi Kgafela II, resulting in the latter fleeing to South Africa on self-imposed exile. BDP had plethora of problems in 2014, among them a standoff with public service trade unions as well as acrimonious relationship with various chiefs in Botswana. The situation also saw Batawana paramount chief, Kgosi Tawana Moremi II ditching the ruling party in favour of opposition, with Barolong paramount chief, Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II following suit in 2015.
In an audio leaked, Masisi who was addressing the BDP parliamentary candidates retreat workshop in May was heard saying a lot of tribal leaders were unhappy with the past administration, an anomaly that will be a priority on his agenda. “A lot of tribal leaders were also unhappy with us. The other even went to an extent of dumping Botswana for South Africa, Kgafela of Bakgatla. And we know very well that our country is not complete without our tribal leaders. We must accept this reality,” Masisi is heard saying in the clip to thunderous applause from his audience.
“I will not rest until Kgafela is back home. I will not, I will not,” he added. BDP is treading carefully this time around to avoid provocative issues to the tribes in the build-up to elections and acknowledges that the institution of Bogosi in Botswana, like in many countries still plays a major role in the political landscape. History has shown that chiefs are still very influential figures in their communities. In Botswana all the vocal chiefs’ constituencies are under opposition and an examination of previous developments show that all the tribes whose chiefs have expressed disgruntlement with the government have been voting for the opposition.
This past weekend when officially opening the 38th BDP congress in Mochudi, Masisi again reiterated the statement. "Mmusi Kgafela is from the royal family and it shows that as the BDP we respect the institution of Bogosi. And as BDP we will do everything to ensure that his brother is backing home. I mean his real home. I will do everything to ensure that he enjoys the warmness of his home. Home I mean here,” Masisi said
However, for their part Mangana regiment’s Matshwenyego Ramotswetla said as far as they know, they are no talks Kgosi Kgafela II and President Masisi relating to return of the Bakgatla chief. “I would not know if there is any but we would be aware if there were any negotiations. What we are aware is Kgabo [Kgosi Kgafela II] said he will only come here when the government has changed and during Khama’s era we once told that Tsogwane [Slumber] was in talks with Kgabo to come back but then nothing materialised,” Another Mangana regiment member who preferred anonymity told this publication that what Masisi is doing is trying to score cheap political points.
“There has not been anything tangible. We are concerned that the President wants to get political mileage from this because he is not serious about it. If he was, he could have contacted Kgabo and talked to him, but for now there has not been anything to that effect. It is just talk,” a very concerned senior member of the regiment said in an interview on Thursday morning. UDC parliamentary hopeful for Mochudi West, Tona Mooketsi has also blasted President Masisi for using the name of Bakgatla Paramount chief, Kgosi Kgafela II as a campaign tool for the upcoming elections.
"There is no way Masisi’s remarks can be true. He was just campaigning," said Mooketsi, adding that Masisi is just looking for sympathy votes from the disgruntled Bakgatla who lost their chief due to the conflicts with the government. Incidentally, Masisi formed part of government as he was a minister at the time. “We are very surprised about Masisi who is now pretending to be Messiah to Bakgatla. He was there when Kgosi Kgafela was being harassed and today he is pretending to be a good man. He won’t fool Bakgatla and he must stop using our Kgosi Kgolo as campaign weapon,” he warned.
Mooketsi believes Kgosi Kgafela II will not by any means be excited by Masisi’ empty promises; “He is a man of his word and I can assure you that he will not be tricked by the sympathy tactics of getting votes by BDP. He once made it clear that he doesn’t want the BDP government. Bakgatla will also not be tricked.”
Bakgatla, Batawana, Balete, Barolong who have been having quarrels with the government have been voting for the opposition and changes in circumstances herald a fluid and unpredictable upcoming election. Bakgatla have fielded Kgafela’s brother, Mmusi in a bid to change its fortunes. Batawana and Barolong chiefs, Kgosi Tawana II and Kgosi Lotlaamoreng who are serving as Members of Parliament now will not be seeking re-election. The Balete land saga still persists and they have taken the government to court. There are other tribes with other issues like Batlokwa and many others that are fighting for recognition.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.