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.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.