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Dikgosi make piercing demands

Chairman of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi (NYD) Kgosi Puso Gaborone has bluntly told Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kgotla Autlwetse that they want a ministry that would specifically address issues of Bogosi and culture. This was one of the pointed demands made by Dikgosi this week.

The request follows a trail of others the traditional leaders have asked for especially with respect to their powers. Dikgosi had serious introspection meeting that lasted for two days dubbed Bogosi Pitso under the theme, “Bogosi Re Ya Kae.”  The gathering apart from introspecting Bogosi institution also looked at adoption of a five-year strategy seeking to transform an ailing establishment. Making the deliberations, Kgosi Gaborone told Autlwetse that if the government is holding Bogosi at the highest regard, it should first create Ministry of Bogosi and Traditional Affairs.

“Merero [consultations] should be under one roof; culture should be taken to where Bogosi is. I am advocating for one thing; Ministry of Bogosi and Traditional Affairs,” Kgosi Gaborone said to the ululation of other Dikgosi who thronged the Pitso. He argued that as an institution they don’t have a budget to carry out a number of initiatives they should do, adding that even the national vision of 2016 did not recognise them.

“We can build things like Peace and democracy foundation. Bogosi should be more cosmopolitan that would be more inclusive. We want to protect and build this nation, we don’t destroy. Let’s package Bogosi properly,” he pleaded. Kgosi Maruje Masunga also agreed with Kgosi Gaborone: “There should be creation of Bogosi Ministry,” he said.  The same was echoed in an interview by both Kgosi Kgari of Bakwena and Oscar Mosielele of Bakgatla-ba-ga-Mmanaana.

Most of ‘Marara’ as Dikgosi are referred to, wholly endorsed the idea of having their own ministry saying they are compromised under the current set-up.  “We are confused as to whether we fall under Presidential Affairs ministry, Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture Development as well as Defence Justice and Security so all these should come under one roof. We are the only institution with an act but with no Ministry,” Kgosi Matlapeng from Tlokweng added.

While the plan has been discussed for a long time now, Dikgosi are confused as to who should lead them should they succeed. Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Deputy Permanent Secretary Col. Duke Masilo is earmarked to lead the ministry should it come to being. On the other side, others want Kgosi Gaborone or Kgosi Maruje Masunga to lead them should the ministry come to being. But one thing Dikgosi concur on is-the ministry should not be led by a politician.

“We should be led by a Kgosi, someone who understand tsamaiso ya jone not barutegi or politicians. It is better Kgosi reprimands the other than someone else reprimanding it. Remember what Minister Butale did to Kgosi Seepapitso when he suspended him from Bogosi, we don’t want that,” one Kgosi Maforaga of Palapye told this paper.

BOGOSI DEMANDS ‘BETTER’ CONDITIONS OF SERVICE

After making their case clear on their own ministry, the tribal CEO’s as Gaborone referred to them made more demands in relation to their conditions of service. At the top of their demands they want some clauses in the Bogosi Act to be discarded especially in relation to political interference. Section 13 and 15 provide for the removal and de-recognition of Kgosi and this rub Magosi the wrong way. “Bogosi is in trouble you want to destroy the institution while politicians stay in office forever, we should do away with the clause that removes Dikgosi from office,” Maruje said.

They also say Minister should not supervise them but the government should establish the Royal council. “Ministers should not interfere with Bogosi; this act is used to harass us. There should be council that would discipline Dikgosi not ministers,” said Masunga who his colleagues call firebrand.  He added; “abuse of power is rampant and corruption has escalated, this is so because of gaps left by Dikgosi. Again if a Kgosi does something he is reprimanded while nothing happens to politicians who does the same, this is double standards.”

In addition Dikgosi spoke in one voice – they want state of the art Kgotla offices and are also demanding same automobiles like the ones used by ministers. “How do you put Dikgosi in a quantum while ministers ride BMW 7 series? Who are the leaders of this country?” he rhetorically asked. For the five year strategy to materialise the traditional leaders say, they need security equivalent to those given to judges as they do the same toil of solving disputes.  Private and personal secretaries must also be availed to the leaders to do their job diligently.

 “We also need diplomatic passports, if you can avail to athletes and MPs why don’t you give Dikgosi the same,” he concluded his presentation on the Dikgosi condition of service. The ministry will look at the demands before determining whether it is feasible to implement them. This was the first time Pitso was called since 2015.

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