The Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Prince Maele is at the centre of a controversial installation of a Headman of Arbitration in his home village of Goo-Tau.
Minister Maele had convinced Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama to give a lion skin from the Department of Wildlife to drape his nephew, Oitsile Maele who was installed headman of arbitration at Monneng ward in the midst of disagreements among the GooTau tribesmen as to who is the rightful candidate for the post.
First the Bangwato tribal authorities are incensed because the Minister used his position to disregard the process of installing a headman; while the Office of the President is also following up on the issue for what is alleged to be possible insubordination on the part of Minister Maele; the paternal uncles in Goo-Tau are also not happy because the Minister failed to cooperate with them when they advised him that he should not drape his nephew with a lion skin because it was unprocedural; and last the Tribal Authorities are not happy because Oitsile Maele’s name was never approved or at least submitted for consideration and recommendation by the Minister of Local Government, Slumber Tsogwane.
Asked for comment, Minister Tsogwane flatly refused to talk about the issue because he felt that “the owners of these issues should deal with them because they never bothered to notify his office in the first place of their intention to install a headman.” The Minister insisted that it is important to follow protocol so as to avoid controversy. This publication learns that Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane had written twice to Minister Maele warning him not to go ahead with the installation of his nephew as headman. Kgamane had received complaints against the move from the other section of Goo-Tau village who were against Oitsile Maele’s candidacy.
Kgamane had advised that there should be a letter from the Ministry confirming the candidate and giving the green light to the ceremony. But above all, it is understood that Kgamane was shocked when he learnt that the headman will be draped with a lion skin. Minister Maele was at the forefront of making the event a success hence he ensured that there was pomp and glamour spicing it with a lion skin draping.
Sources point out that Minister Maele is not in good terms with his paternal uncles who also lay claim to the position of headman. Oitsile Maele, who was installed recently, is a son to the current chief of Goo-Tau, Maele Maele who was voted headman of records in 1985 after controversially defeating Boitumelo Gaborone. He has not been promoted since his election, the village remains divided because it has no birthright chief.
THE LATE NIGHT CEREMONY AND LION SKIN SEIZURE
It has been established that Oitsile Maele was draped with a lion skin in the cover of night. There were dignatories from Petermaritzburg (Bapedi) who had come to witness the occasion. Civil servants were instructed to ignore the ceremony. It is understood that upon being contacted Tshekedi Khama made it clear that he was not aware that the lion skin was going to be used for purposes of installing a headman of arbitration. Weekend Post gathers that officers from the Wildlife Department and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) had to storm Goo-Tau at night to confiscate the lion skin.
But indications are that Maele and his team had learnt of the operation and he draped his nephew with the lion skin late at night before the actual ceremony the following morning. By the time the officers dispossessed the Maele’s of the lion skin, Oitsile Maele had already been draped in it and a few pictures taken. The Maele name came into contact with bogosi in Goo-Tau in 1985 after an election. Some in Goo-Tau are calling for fresh elections to elect a kgosi because “in any event” it is not a birth right of the Maele’s.
Minister Maele may have to explain why he disregarded the warnings from the Bangwato Regent, Sediegeng Kgamane. He may also have to explain why he chose to sideline the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development when he installed his nephew as headman of arbitration. Meanwhile Kgamane is said to be unhappy because someone else was draped with a lion skin in his territory without his knowledge. However, when contacted for comment Maele feigned absolute ignorance on the matter. He rerouted this publication to Tshekedi Khama, “who might tell you who he gave the skin to.” “I absolutely don’t know anything about that. It’s the first time I hear of such. You can ask him, (Tshekedi) maybe he will tell you who he gave the skin to, “he said curtly.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.