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Royal disputes freeze Bayei Chief coronation

The decision by government to stall Wayei chief coronation is as a result of egos and internal bickering by the tribe as to who should lead them to Ntlo Ya Dikgosi (NYD), WeekendPost has established.

The government through Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) has decided to recognize the Wayei as an independent ethnic group in 2016. For a long time Bayei have been taken as Batawana subjects something they vehemently challenged until government acceded to their demand-recognition. Ever since then, there have been delays relating to who will represent the tribe at Ntlo Ya Dikgosi. The tribe played the cards close to their chest blaming the government for the delay.

 However, fresh information depicts a tribe deeply divided and not willing to unite anytime soon to address the matter. At first it was agreed through the Wayeyi Chieftainship Council that Chief Fish Ozoo be their representative before the name of Pitoro Jacob Seedisa came out.
Moments later Lydia Ramahobo-Saleshando’s name also cropped out with some tribesmen arguing she is the right character to lead them and make deliberations at the NYD.

Bayei tribe has three royal families from which the chief has to be chosen. Those royal families include Bogosi Jwa ga Mathwara, Bogosi Jwa ga Hankuzi and Bogosi Jwa ga Xonkue. It is pointed out that a paramount chief of Bayei will always come from one of these families in case the position of the chief becomes vacant as the Chieftaincy in the Wayei tribe is not hereditary. Both Seedisa and Ozoo are reportedly from these families.

The Bayei chieftaincy was left vacant following the demise of Chief Shikati Calvin Kamanakao in 2003. Some tribe’s men who are now opposing any appointment for now suggest that any appointment should be on regency to hold the fort on behalf of the late Kamanakao’s son until he is old enough to take up the responsibility.

Kamanakao passed on before he could be legally recognized as Bayei chief although his tribe had installed him as paramount chief in April 1999, then Attorney General, Ian Kirby wrote the tribe in July of the same year telling them that they could not have a paramount chief as they were not legally recognised as a tribe. Before his demise, Kamanakao fought for the recognition of his people as an independent tribe.

Apart from the tribe disagreeing as to who should lead them, it is said the tribal council is adding petrol to the inferno. The past council headed by Gceba Ditando which has resigned but did not formally hand over to the new committee led by Jacob Samsosasin.  This, sources say makes it more difficult for the current committee to push the matter at government level so that the Wayei chieftainship could be closed once and for all.

“At least if there was hand-over it would be known as to how far they were especially in dealing with government because in terms of villagers selecting who to lead them, is not something difficult. We are a democratic dispensation and majority rule can always prevail,” a source who has been following the developments told this paper. The tribe has already proposed tribal boundaries which are rejected by other tribes with Bahambukushu leading the bandwagon.

 Bayei had allegedly proposed tribal boundaries from Tsau village to Ikoga gate. Another proposed boundary is said to be from Xurube to Gudigwa village in which Bahambukushu through Bungu WA Kathimana Association are opposing. The tribe is nonetheless expected to solve the issue this year. “It should be rested in 2019 because it would seem we are failing to manage ourselves.  It is not like government does not see this, that is when you will hear tomorrow that we are operating with a regent and not a fully-fledged Kgosi like other tribes,” added the seemingly concerned source.

There are about 37 other tribes which exist in Botswana, though the state does not recognize them. The total non-Tswana population is generally estimated at about 60 per cent. Experts say lack of recognition has also led to the inadequate provision of social services, such as education, in rural and minority dominated areas, 36 resulting in disproportionately high levels of poverty. In 1885, the then-Bechuanaland became a British protectorate and in 1933, the British authorities recognised eight tribes in the Chieftainship Act as follows: the Barolong, Bakwena, Bangwaketse, Balete, Bakgatla, Batlokwa, Bangwato and Batawana.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
Kebonang

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.

JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.

This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.

“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.

This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.

“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.

UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.

In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.

This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.

Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”

Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”

UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.

Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.

“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview
UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.

The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021
boko-and-khama

President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.

While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.

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