Recent reports that Kgosi Kgafela’s relations with the government of Botswana have almost normalised may have little to no truth to them at all, WeekendPost can reveal. As things stand, reconciliation talks between the government and Kgafela have taken a new twist and could throw the Bakgatla royal family into disarray.
The Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela Kgosikgolo made suggestions that his relations with government of Botswana have almost normalised recently when giving evidence during an ongoing Commission of Inquiry into Bakgatla dealings in Rustenburg. Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama was also quoted recently during a kgotla meeting in Kgatleng telling the Bakgatla tribesmen that they should tell their kgosi to come back home.
But deductions from last Sunday meeting addressed by Kgosi Kgafela in Moruleng, South Africa, which was attended by hundreds of Bakgatla from Mochudi, could shed new light into the merry-go-round debacle. The kgotla meeting was followed by a closed session meeting comprising Kgosi Kgafela; his brothers, Bakgatla and Mmusi; uncles, Kgosi Segale Linchwe, Ramono Linchwe, and Bana Sekai who only joined it towards the end.
This publication is reliably informed that Kgosi Kgafela is worried that the government is playing hide and seek after promising to withdraw all the criminal charges against him. Kgafela’s sheet include 17 charges of floggings and the extradition application against him. It is understood that he has since assigned his brothers and some of his uncles in Botswana to intervene on the matter to push government to honour its promises.
Kgosi Kgafela was overheard by the WeekendPost team which had sneaked into the house where the meeting was held, saying, “I am not fighting them. All I want is proper laws that favour everyone. They must amend this constitution.”
And later in the same meeting he said this words to one of his younger brothers, Mmusi, “Akere wena you are a BDP and you say you always meet permanent secretaries…talk to them then.”
Some of those close to the case are of the view that Kgosi Kgafela is sacrificing morafe because of his own personal challenges. Recently, sources say, he intercepted Kgosi Sekai from being appointed to Ntlo ya Dikgosi (NYD) instructing that he remain in his position as deputy chief. But Kgosi Kgafela had initially instructed the government to appoint kgosi Sekai. Sekai was supposed to be announced as Bakgatla representative by President Khama before he left office of the Presidency, but this was scuttled by Kgafela after he changed his mind at the last minute.
It is alleged that Kgosi Kgafela’s greatest fear is that, should Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela have a representative in NYD, the Kgatleng chieftainship woes would be seen to have been solved and he on the other hand would be forgotten or his legal issues not addressed to finality. “He wants the government to deal with the issues simultaneously. Kgosi Kgafela doesn’t know what he wants. Sometimes he would tell us he doesn’t want anything to do with Botswana issues and the next day he would say a different thing,” a source close to the developments said.
“Of recent, he is so much worried. At first it was like the government was forcing him to come here, but nowadays it is him after the government.” Kgosi Sekai is said to have pleaded with Kgosi Kgafela to allow him to go to Ntlo ya Dikgosi and promised that he would use the position to convince the leadership to speed up the paramount chief’s case. On the other hand Sekai is accused of “hoping” that Kgafela’s case is not resolved so that he continues on the acting capacity.
The tension between the two (Kgafela and Sekai) was visible at weekend meeting at Moruleng. Initially Sekai was told he would welcome Kgafela as usual, only for him to end up giving a report about Kgatleng (Mochudi) instead. Sekai could not hide his disappointment and he ventilated his misgivings before the crowd, “I am not happy at the way things are being done. I was told I would as always welcome Kgabo, but the program was changed without notifying me. I am only told now that I should not welcome Kgabo but make a report about Mochudi. Next time don’t do this,” he said.
Kgosi Sekai then told the gathering that he was running the whole tribe solo. He said no one was assisting him and has even decided to ask for assistance from members of the tribe to tell him their opinions about his tribe’s herdsmen. “Those who are rated low, I will definitely fire them because I don’t want the government to feel I am useless. Yes, I will use my powers given by the government and fire them because they are not helping me.”
Kgosi Kgafela was then welcomed by kgosi Mothibe Linchwe. And when he took the stand, Kgafela made comments on remarks by other speakers who came before him except Sekai’s. The fuss also extended to the closed session meeting where other members of the royal family drove to Ramóno’s place. The WeekendPost team followed the cars to the homestead and all royal family members were present including Sekai’s juniors but Sekai was not among them.
The meeting was held in the balcony upstairs, where upon this team remained downstairs for almost an hour. They probably thought the team was part of them. It was after an hour that the protocol men and women asked the Weekend Post team to vacate their yard. And at the time, Sekai was still not there.
Sekai is said to have come in later when the meeting was almost over as he wanted to consult Kgosi Kgafela on other issues affecting Bakgatla-ba-ga-Kgafela in Botswana.
Vice President Slumber Tsogwane declined to comment on the issue, saying it is not the right time to make any comments about it.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.
In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.
“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.
“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.
However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”
Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.
“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.
Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.
Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.
State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.
The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.
Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.
“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.
However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.
Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.
“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.
While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.
He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.
According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.
“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.
Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.
“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.
He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.
“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.
He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.
Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.
Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month
Cattle farmers from Eretsha and Habu in the Ngamiland district, supported by the Community Based Trade (CBT) project, recently generated over P300 000.00 for sales of 42 cattle to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Maun. This milestone was achieved through support from various stakeholders in conservation, commodity-based trade and the government, in collaboration with farmers. Ordinarily, these farmers would not have made this direct sale since the area is a designated Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Red Zone.
Traditional livestock farming contributes toward livelihoods and formal employment in the North-West District (Ngamiland) of Botswana. However, primarily due to the increase in FMD outbreaks over the past two decades and predation by wildlife, the viability of livestock agriculture as a source of income has declined in the region. This has led to a greater risk of poverty and food insecurity. Access across the Okavango River (prior to the construction of a bridge) restricted access for farmers in Eretsha. This lack of access hampered sales of cattle beyond Shakawe, further discouraging farmers from investing in proper livestock management practices. This resulted in negative environmental impacts, poor livestock health and productivity.
To address this challenge, farmers are working with a consortium led by Conservation International (CI), with funding secured from the European Union (EU) to pilot a CBT beef project. The project focuses on supporting and enabling communal farmers to comply with standards and regulations that will improve their chances to access markets. An opportunity to earn higher income from cattle sales could incentivize the adoption of restorative rangelands management practices by farmers.
“We spend a lot of money getting our cattle to Makalamabedi quarantine site, the herder spends on average two months taking care of the cattle before they are taken into quarantine – that needs money. All these costs lead to us getting less money from BMC,” said one of the farmers in the programme, Mr Monnaleso Mosanga.
Farmers that participate in the project agree for their cattle to be herded and kraaled communally by fulltime professional herders (eco-rangers). At the core of this pilot is the use of predator-proof bomas (cattle kraals), planned grazing systems and mobile quarantine bomas (electrified enclosures) for the cattle, facilitated in support with the Department of Veterinary Services. The first successful exit from the mobile quarantine bomas in the Habu and Eretsha villages, in December 2022, saw cattle quarantined on-site and directly transported to BMC in Maun. Farmers received almost double the average sales within this region, as costs including transportation to quarantine sites, herder’s fees and other associated costs incurred before qualifying for BMC sales were no longer included.
“This pilot mobile quarantine is leveraging the techniques and protocols we are using at our current permanent quarantine sites, and we are still observing the results of the project. The outcome of this pilot will be presented to the World Organisation of Animal Health to assess its effectiveness and potentially be approved to be used elsewhere,” said Dr Odireleng Thololwane, the Principal Veterinary Officer (Maun).