Indications are that Bakgatla Kgosikgolo, Kgafela II and Government of Botswana are talking again and there is a likelihood that one of the most controversial traditional leaders of the land may come back and lead his people, Bakgatla Ba Kgafela. But there is a catch, apparently he has to renounce his multiple citizenship.
This past week Kgosi Kgafela addressed his subjects in Moruleng South Africa where he told them his job that side was done and he has accomplished what he started in 2012 when he arrived. In a speech that encoded both a Christmas and a farewell message, Kgafela thanked those who supported his mission.
“The way I see things, during 2018 we managed to accomplish what we came here for. What may be lagging behind will naturally correct along the way. We won the issue of land at the constitutional court after we learnt that Kgosi Nyalala and his friends at the mines were taking that which belonged to Bakgatla.”Kgafela emphasized that they have taught other tribes that the rule of law is very important. He implored Bakgatla to follow the rule of law, “because the law will always catch up with you, it may take you ages, flouting the law thinking you are above everything, but ultimately, it catches up with you,” he said.
In his speech to indicate that his next steps could be heading back to Botswana, Kgosi Kgafela emphasized that the Bakgatla in Moruleng should not forget that Bakgatla in Botswana, Mochudi helped them in a big way. “Always remember that Bakgatla in Mochudi helped this course and ensure that he assist them also should they need you,” he said. According to Kgafela, Bakgatla Ba Kgafela in Botswana have issues with the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) led government, and the time has come for him to address these subject.
“I do not want to leave these issues for Matshego (Kgafela’s son). It is time to take them head on starting next year (2019),” Kgosi Kgafela said to a loud applause from the crowd. Kgosi Kgafela shared that their issues with the BDP led Government come from far and it is time to deal with and close the chapter. Kgosi Kgafela is said to have endured a lot of pain while in South Africa because two of his closest friends passed on, one under mysterious circumstances and he could not come home to bury them.
“This has affected him greatly and wants to find peace with it,” said one of Kgosi Kgafela’s close associates. Indications are that the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Kgosikgolo sees the need to return and he is almost there hence his latest message to Bakgatla in Moruleng, South Africa.
GOVERNMENT CONTACTS KGAFELA
This publication has it on good record that talks have begun between Kgosi Kgafela and the Government. Kgosi Kgafela and some within government have been in contact for about a month with the nagging issue being that of his multiple citizenships. Kgosi Kgafela has a USA, Botswana and South African citizenship.
The issue of Kgosi Kgafela’s citizenship was still the stumbling block during former President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama’s tenure and it remains under President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi. With President Masisi’s speeches encoded on the ‘rule of law’, the role of the Attorney General’s Chambers will come in handy in the discussions with Kgosi Kgafela. It is understood that the AG’s Chambers wants Kgosi Kgafela II to renounce his other citizenships, a bait that he does not want to take. “Under former President Khama they had agreed on everything except the issue of citizenship.” It is elections next year in Botswana, and political war lords fighting on the BDP corner are adamant that should Kgosikgolo return, the BDP will walk over the opposition
KGAFELA’S CHIEFTAINSHIP AND CLASHES WITH GOV’T
Kgafela II, who was installed as Bakgatla chief in 2008, left the country in 2012, following a series of battles with government over a number of issues. He had been de-recognised by the then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Lebonaamang Mokalake at the time of his departure to South Africa, renouncing the Botswana citizenship in the process, after acquiring South African citizenship.
In a letter written to then Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Ramadeluka Seretse, Kgafela II stated in the letter that; “ I am a King who rules over a tribe in two countries. That circumstance is not of our own doing but a product of colonialism. The fact of the matter is that I have settled in South Africa permanently as a South Africa citizen. What you do with my citizenship of Botswana is up to you, since you now own the country as a family.”
In his previous battles with government, Kgafela II had challenged the constitution of Botswana wanting it to be set aside as he contended that it was fraudulently adopted. He was taken to court for floggings in Kgatleng, charged with several others. He left for South Africa when faced with an arrest warrant and a possible prison term. In his absence some of his co-accused made peace with the then Khama led Government, but he remained steadfast until today.
In South Africa, Kgafela II, where he emerged victorious again, was fighting an even tougher battle where his legitimacy as a ruler of Bakgatla in Moruleng was being questioned by one Nyalala Pilane who had been a regent since 1996.
BAKGATLA AND GOV’T TIFF EXPLAINED
Kgosi Kgafela explained their differences with the BDP led Government in detail in the past, he has said the issue is more than that. In fact few people understand how and when Bakgatla’s war of words with Government started. “The Botswana government has a longstanding disrespect for Bakgatla and their tribal leadership. Khama is just pushing where his father left off,” he told WeekendPost when asked to give a clue that could lead to the start of the trouble back in 2012.
And if Kgafela‘s utterances are to be taken seriously then history may be repeating itself as former President Lt Gen Ian Khama‘s late father who also happens to be the first president of Botswana Sir Seretse Khama also went public, criticizing Kgafela‘s late father Kgosi Linchwe II on the revival of initiation schools in his 1975 independence day message; something that set the two on a collision path just like their sons now.
A perusal of history materials also show that the Bakgatla leadership and tribe have always been in the forefront of such issues. In fact it appears Kgafela took his cultural reform cues from his late father Kgosi Linchwe II. In their book, The Politics of the Past, scholars Peter Gathercole and David Lowenthal, quote Seretse Khama as saying that“…at this point one is tempted to remark about the renaissance of wasteful and long forgotten tribal rituals such as Bogwera.
In my view Bogwera is a divisive ritual. It smacks of the seeds of disunity, coming as it does, at a time when we thought we were winning the battle against tribalism. I would not agree with anybody who might want to convince me that Bogwera is a useful ritual in this day and age.” Kgafela believes that the animosity between the late Seretse Khama and Linchwe II has not followed them to their graves as he and Khama have revived it. Kgafela recalls that Khama‘s recent state of the nation address under Law and Order, was tailor-made for them when Khama talked of vigilantes.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.