The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane has sparked yet another spat between Batawana and Bayeyi after writing letters to both tribes blocking the coronation of Bayei paramount Chief.
Wayeyi Chieftainship Council Chairperson, Gceba Ditando revealed to this publication on Thursday that they have received a letter from Tsogwane somersaulting on his initial stand. “The event [coronation] will not go on as planned; we received a letter from the minister saying he is withdrawing his earlier statement to Batawana asking them to let us use the Gumare main kgotla,” he said. “Tsogwane sabotaged us,” stressed Ditando.
Bayei were expected to coronate Jacob Pitoro Seedisa as their paramount chief after the government recognized the tribe as an independent ethnic group last year. The ceremony has failed on several occasions in the past, with Batawana accused of sabotaging the whole process by refusing to avail the Kgotla. This was however considered water under the bridge after Tsogwane instructed Batawana to avail it, only to withdraw his instruction last week.
According to Ditando, Tsogwane also wrote a letter to Batawana but he is not privy to the contents of the letter. However, Bayeyi suspects that the minister could have connived with Batawana tribal leaders to block everything. As it stands, Wayeyi are still Batawana subjects until they have their Kgosi coroneted. Initially the late Kgosi Ozoo could have been coroneted but dilly-dally by the Batawana royals and Tsogwane saw Ozoo passing on before taking the throne. “His skin [leopard skin originally meant for the departed heir] was to be used for this weekend ceremony,” Ditando highlighted.
WeekendPost has gathered that the mood is somber in Gumare as the community was anticipating the historic ceremony. The tribal leadership will explore all the avenues to determine what could be the reason why their sovereignty is blocked. “We are still going to meet to map the way forward and we will see the best way to deal with this. If it is possible we will seek legal redress because we have been recognized by the government but small things are being used to block our road to independence,” said Ditando.
Among other things Bayeyi demand as part of their recognition as a tribe is to have territorial integrity and a Land Board that serves the tribe. These demands reportedly have influenced Tsogwane decision to somersault on his initially gestures. “That is definitely what we want, territory gives a chief integrity and to know where his powers end. So the Minister should let us know the boundary between us and Batawana,” he said.
Ditando said last week that if Tsogwane does not fulfill their demands they we will pursue necessary procedures since it is enshrined in the constitution that a Kgosi should have a territorial integrity. In the past the minister could not come out clear as to whether government will give Bayeyi territorial integrity since they are ‘occupying Batawana land, and Bayeyi were not assured to have a land authority as land boards are responsible for land allocation not Kgosi’.
“Other issues of land and language are separate matters which are not catered for. If they are to stand, they should be negotiated with other ministries. The tribe should discuss the issues,” Tsogwane said in earlier meetings with the tribe. Ditando has not shied away from mentioning the land dispute issue which largely forms part of the dispute in the Ngamiland region. He says they are aware of the land questions, and their argument has always been that the government should be left to deal with the issue hence they will be waiting for the Minister to share with them the boundaries. Bayeyi, Bambukushu and Basarwa all believe there should be boundaries to separate them from Batawana rule.
The main reason why Bayei wanted to have a recognised chief and tribe is to enjoy linguistic and cultural rights not enjoyed by the non-recognised tribes. “Among these are access to the institution of chieftaincy, permanent membership to Ntlo Ya Dikgosi as of right, group rights to land, territorial and ethnic identity, a celebration of one’s culture in the public domain and the use of one’s language in education and the media.”
There are about 37 other tribes which exist in Botswana, though the state does not recognize them. The total non-Tswana population is generally estimated at about 60 per cent. Experts say lack of recognition has also led to the inadequate provision of social services, such as education, in rural and minority dominated areas, 36 resulting in disproportionately high levels of poverty. In 1885, the then-Bechuanaland became a British protectorate and in 1933, the British authorities recognized eight tribes in the Chieftainship Act as follows: the Barolong, Bakwena, Bangwaketse, Balete, Bakgatla, Batlokwa, Bangwato and Batawana.
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.