Bangwato regent Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane has dismissed allegations levelled against him by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural development after he was accused of using Serowe Kgotla for political expediency.
Confidential documents seen by WeekendPost reveal that the letters written to Kgosi Kgamane addressed as Motshwarelela Bogosi Jwa Ga Mmangwato were a directive from the Office of the President (OP). The letter, dated 31st December 2018, was authored by ex-president Lt Gen Ian Khama’s former Senior Private Secretary, Col Duke Masilo, now Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and copied to Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration.
Addressed through Director, Tribal Administration, the letter read in part, insinuate that the turnout at Serowe Main Kgotla on 23rd December 2018 on what was purportedly a Christmas party turned out to be a political meeting at which the former president Lt Gen Ian Khama used the opportunity to attack and castigate the integrity and leadership of President Mokgweetsi Masisi. The letter continues to say Khama further used the Kgotla to ridicule and express his personal disparaging opinion about president of the United States of America, Donald Trump.
“In addition to that, the former President also openly and with intention to cast aspersion on the judgement of his Excellency to relief the former Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi of her duties, rallied support for Venson- Moitoi,” reads part of the letter. The letter suggested that at the same gathering, Venson- Moitoi publicly criticized the decision by president Masisi to drop her from Cabinet and used the platform to solicit for votes in her Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential bid.
The same letter also made reference to an incident that happened at Moremi Kgotla on 16th November 2018, where Member of Parliament for the area, Prince Maele is alleged to have incited people when proclaiming to stand by former president in his vote of thanks remarks. It said what happened at Serowe main Kgotla, was a repeat and it is totally undesirable.
“You are therefore directed to desist and refrain forthwith from allowing anyone to use any Kgotla for political expediency. In light of the foregoing, you are requested to provide and explanation of the turn of events on the 23rd December 2018 at Serowe Kgotla soonest but not later than 10th January 2019,” Masilo instructed. In his response Kgosi Kgamane said to his best recall, he did not hear Khama attacking and castigating the integrity and leadership of President Masisi.
“In the same vein I am not aware of Hon Dr Venson- Moitoi soliciting for votes to the presidency race at Botswana Democratic Party,” wrote Kgamane. Kgamane said in relation to the President of the US, the former president Khama indicated that he did not like his leadership in relation to abuse of human rights. “Utterance by Hon Prince Maele at Moremi Kgotla on 16th November 2018 is also news to me,” said Kgamane. In a telephone interview, Khama said he did not see the letter authored to Kgamane, but indicated that what is alleged in the letter is totally inaccurate.
He said they [OP] can go and get the recordings to inform themselves better of what transpired at the Serowe Kgotla. “I personally have addressed many Kgotla meetings across the country and I know what is appropriate to say in a Kgotla meeting. I therefore reject any attempts by newcomers telling me what to say at a Kgotla,” said Khama. The former President said as a nation Botswana continue to experience an erosion in its democracy. He said Botswana’s democracy is centred on a Kgotla system and nobody understands it better than him.
Khama said as things stands now there is no freedom of speech in the country and people are held accountable for what they say during Kgotla meetings. Moremi Kgosi was also summoned to write a report entailing what happened during Maele’s Kgotla meeting in question. It is understood that Kgosi Days refused to write the letter alleging that the meeting was just a normal Kgotla meeting and nothing peculiar or sinister occurred.
After the kgotla the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation led by Dr Unity Dow had expressed concern over the remarks made by former President Khama about the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. The Ministry stated that it was wrong for Khama to use the Kgotla to make political pronouncements.
However in response, Khama indicated that, “whilst I acknowledge the mandate of the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation to promote and maintain good relations with other countries, however, during my term in office I was prepared to, and indeed I did criticize poor governance displayed by those leaders and governments of other countries who violated those principles anchored on democracy and human rights around the world even if they did not like our doing so.”
He pointed out that the Ministry is free to abandon those principles and ignore Donald Trump's present and past disrespectful tendencies which he clearly displayed in the manner some time ago, in the way he referred to countries in Africa. “I am proud that when I was President, Botswana was one of those that criticised him over those insulting and racist remarks.
I did not then, nor will I now shy away from confronting the likes of him as he continues every day to display unacceptable behavior in dividing people based on color, religion, ethnicity or in any way.” Khama further said: “at no time did I claim in my remarks about Trump that I represented the Botswana Government nor do I wish to. Mafoko a kgotla a mantle otlhe.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.