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11 tribes in Bogosi disputes

At least 11 tribes are hopeful that their chieftainship disputes will be dealt with urgently by the new Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi. Venson-Moitoi inherited the backlog of cases from Vice President Slumber Tsogwane. All of the disputes centre on succession, WeekendPost can reveal.

This publication has established that the Ministry is currently dealing with 11 succession cases. All these need urgent attention as the various tribes have gone without a Kgosi for some time now. The absence of a Kgosi has meant that the morafe cannot access some services rendered by a Kgosi. Some of the affected tribes include Babirwa, Bakgalagadi, Batswapong and Bakhurutshe.

“The Institution of Bogosi is complex and cannot exist without disputes more especially over issues of succession. The Bogosi disputes emanate from the royal house or within the community on who should be designated as Kgosi usually after the passing on or retirement of one who was been holding the fort,” said MLGRD permanent secretary, Boipolelo Khumomatlhare.

While the ministry admits it is the duty of the royal house or the community to amicably resolve these disputes they don’t rule out other avenues for redress to the aggrieved party. “Where they reach a stalemate, the matter is then referred to the Ministry for further investigations so that a resolution can be made.” The Minister can also constitute a task team made of Dikgosi from other tribes to consult, investigate and come up with recommendations that can inform the final decision on the matter. “Where a solution cannot be reached, the aggrieved parties are at liberty to take the matter to court,” she added.

Since last year Bayeyi who are now a recognized tribe failed to install their Kgosi on two occasions.  “With regard to Bayeyi issue, consultations are ongoing and therefore we are not at liberty to say much before the conclusions of the consultation process.” The ministry says while it is their intention to deal with matter promptly it is a challenge to set dates for issues to be resolved because consultations take long as there is need to consult and engage with all affected parties in line with the provisions of the Bogosi Act of 2008. “Usually these cases are sensitive and they need to be handled with due diligence,” she highlighted.

Venson-Moitoi, in attempts to deal with the matters has already visited Makopong village to douse the raging chieftainship fires.  “The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development is aware of the ongoing Bogosi disputes across the country. For the issues to be resolved, it does not necessarily need the Minister to visit the affected tribes or communities. In other instances, the concerned communities send delegations to the Minister to resolve such issues.”

The permanent secretary says the chieftainship disputes are a daily occurrence, which the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is seized with to address and resolve amicably in consultation with the affected communities. “Therefore, every opportunity is utilized to sensitize and make the communities aware of the importance of consultation when dealing with chieftainship issues.”

Bogosi disputes are a worrying phenomenon which threatens the stability and integrity of the institution. For some time the chairperson of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, Kgosi Puso Gaborone has pleaded with tribes to minimize quarrels emanating from succession and other related issues.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021

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

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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