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.
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.