Bakgatla Ba Kgafela (BBK) Paramount Chief, Kgafela Kgafela II has told South African authorities during the just ended Commission of Inquiry into Bakgatla dealings in Rustenburg that, in deciding his fate in their nation, they should not bother listening to what Botswana government says of him.
Botswana government does not have a stand, it is like a skipping rope, he says. Kgafela was making his final submissions before a panel of three commissioners being Chairperson, Advocate Sesi Baloyi; and members Professor Mhlomi Moleleki and Advocate Hosi Mahumani on Monday.
The North West Premier had restricted Kgafela to make his submissions based on a few terms of reference that he had put before him. The commission was established by former Premier, Supra Mahumapelo in 2016 to probe the succession dispute of Bakgatla Ba Kgafela in Moruleng and is now in the new hands of Tebogo Mokgoro.
During the proceedings, Baloyi asked Kgafela to shed light on the relevancy of the fact of his de- recognition as Kgosi in Botswana and the fact that he does not hold South African citizenship as far as the evidence before the commission is concerned: At least one party makes an issue about that in so far as it relates to your authority as Kgosi kgolo over Moruleng, noted Baloyi.
In his response, Kgafela who was content and composed in his answering throughout the proceedings, said, “It’s not a prerequisite for recognition by government for you to acquire and perform the duties of Kgosi kgolo. When a government supports a paramount chief under their frame work of corporate governance its profitable, but when the government rejects a paramount chief either because of politics…I will give you an example of Botswana right now, the previous government will say I do not recognise Kgafela and the next government say they recognise you, another one say this and that…like a skipping rope! It does not work that way. Customary law is constant like the sun,” submitted Kgafela.
“The status and performance of the role of a paramount chief are not dependent on recognition by government. I say to you that for the past 10 years I have been a paramount chief of BBK in Botswana and South Africa and I don’t have a certificate for 10 years from both countries. And I have not received a salary from both governments, but you cannot deny the fact that I perform my duties and I am still performing them. The evidence shows quite clearly that one does not need a certificate.”
He also submitted that despite what Botswana government says about his chieftainship, the facts were irrelevant, saying according to the terms of reference put before him by the premier, the premier does not want to know that. “It is not in the terms of reference, and this was issued in 2016, but the government of Botswana took the position of de- recognising me in 2011. All the government departments that I met in pursue of my role knew about it. Surely if this issue was relevant they would have put it here, same as my citizenship, whether I am a South African citizen or not is irrelevant to the terms of reference.”
Kgafela went on to tell the commission that even when his father, the late Paramount Chief Linchwe appointed the same Pilane who was now questioning his authority in 1994, he was not a citizen of South Africa. His father was living in Botswana and coming to South Africa, he said. “But my case is even stronger, because I am a citizen. There is no evidence which says I am not a citizen. The legal document which evidence says one’s citizenship is a birth certificate. And I have the South African birth certificate,” he said, adding that according to the South African citizenship Act one becomes a citizen once they are in possession of a birth certificate.
He said he has been staying in South Africa for the past six years, and that if he was not a citizen, the government probably would have long kicked him out of the country. 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 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. 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.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.