Headstrong Bakgatla-ba-ga-Kgafela Chief, Kgafela Kgafela II may get his way and soon return to Botswana to take over the chieftaincy, if ongoing negotiations with the Office of the President conclude successfully. Government informed his tribe in Mochudi this week that Kgafela II is remorseful and is engaging President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama.
In a development which signalled government’s measured intention deal with the matter to finality, minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane travelled to the Bakgatla capital of Mochudi to brief the tribe about the fate of its chief.
In recognition of issues that arose during the interaction of Bakgatla and the Presidential Task team led by Kgosi Malope II of Bangwaketse, minister Tsogwane took time to explain the bottlenecks around the withdrawal of de-recognition notice – which is one of the demands of morafe.
He said Government is reliably informed that Kgosi Kgafela II has taken South African citizenship. Tsogwane said since Botswana Laws do not allow dual citizenship, the issue of de-recognizing Kgosi Kgafela II can only be considered if he decides to relocate back to Botswana and re-apply for Botswana citizenship.
With Botswana not permitting dual citizenship, it remains to be seen if Kgosi Kgafela II, will be willing to renounce his South African citizenship in order to be recognised again as Bakgatla chief.
This publication has established that the ongoing negotiations between President Khama and Kgosi Kgafela hinge on the latter’s dual citizenship, a move which could see the Bakgatla chief returning home on his terms.
On the subject of Withdrawal of criminal charges and warrant of arrest for Kgosi Kgafela II, Tsogwane said: “the criminal charges against Kgosi Kgafela II are a matter between the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the accused (Kgosi Kgafela II). The current position is that the DPP has already proceeded to prosecute after consulting the Attorney General. Therefore doors for any consultation are already closed. An option that remains in terms of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act is for Kgafela himself to reconcile with the complainants.”
Speaking directly to the issue of reconciliation between Bakgatla and Government, the minister said lately Kgosi Kgafela II has shown remorse and willingness to reconcile with Government through a letter to the President delivered by Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi of Bafokeng. He said going forward Government will engage Kgosi Kgafela II on the matter.
According Tsogwane, the Office of President has commenced negotiations with the Bakgatla chief with regards to his return to his native country. Kgafela II’s return to Botswana however will happen under conditions that he is recognised as the chief of Bakgatla, with Tsogwane admitting that government had disregarded important clauses in de-recognising the Bakgatla chief.
The negotiations were instigated by Kgosi Kgafela II who had sent a letter delivered by Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi of Bafokeng in South Africa detailing conditions for his (Kgafela) return to Botswana as a recognised chief of the tribe.
Tsogwane was cagey on revealing the contents of the letter or communication between the two parties but affirmed that there is an ongoing exchange of letters between President Khama’s office and Kgosi Kgafela II.
The negotiations between Kgafela II and Office of the President have been augmented by those of a committee appointed by Bakgatla last year to look into the matter.
The downhill Kgotla, which a few years ago at the turn of events, was a no go area for cabinet Ministers was jam-packed as the tribe, which has been without a chief for almost five years descended to the kgotla to get first-hand the affairs about their chief who has been in self exile in neighbouring South Africa since 2012.
Tsogwane inherited destruction and hate problems between Bakgatla tribe and government, the architects of the riddle being his predecessors Lebonaamang Mokalake and Peter Siele.
Kgafela II, who was installed as Bakgatla chief in 2008, left the country in 2012, following a series of battles with government over a number of issues. He had been de-recognised by then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Mokalake at the time of his departure to South Africa, renouncing the Botswana citizenship in the process, after acquiring South African citizenship.
In a letter written to then Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Ramadeluka Seretse, Kgafela II stated in the letter that; “ I am a King who rules over a tribe in two countries.
That circumstance is not of our own doing but a product of colonialism. The fact of the matter is that I have settled in South Africa permanently as a South Africa citizen. What you do with my citizenship of Botswana is up to you, since you now own the country as a family.”
In his previous battles with government, Kgafela II had challenged the constitution of Botswana wanting it to be set aside as he contended that it was fraudulently adopted.
In South Africa, Kgafela II, where he emerged victorious again, was fighting an even tougher battle where his legitimacy as a ruler of Bakgatla in Moruleng was being questioned by one Nyalala Pilane who had been a regent since 1996. Since Kgafela II’s victory Nyalala has been dethroned with his replacement to be installed soon.
Government, upon the expiry of his deputy and Uncle, Bana Sekai Linchwe’s contract, refused to renew it citing that he had reached retirement age. This created another impasse since the Bogosi Act entitled only the Bakgatla chief to appoint his deputy.
In the absence of Kgafela II, Bakgatla have remained without a chief. The royal house has also been divided, with Kgosi Mothibe Linchwe calling for a truce and peace among those involved and restoration of Sekai to his position as the tribe’s deputy chief.
THE KGOTLA MEETING
At the Kgotla meeting, a subservient Tsogwane listened as the tribe demanded that Kgafela’s return should be under the condition that he is not going to be jailed and that the case before the courts involving him and the state is dropped. The tribesmen also want Sekai reinstated in his position as deputy chief with immediate effect.
Tsogwane however, remarked that government would not interfere with the judicial process, and noted that Kgabo, the Bakgatla Chief, is conversant with the law as a lawyer and would not do anything to interfere with the duties of the court.
“If there is need for forgiveness, such could be done after the courts have finished doing their work. At the moment the matter before the courts is beyond the Office of the President or President [Ian Khama]’s authority and we cannot decide on it,” he said.
Tsogwane said the warrant of arrest issued against Kgafela II does not mean that the chief is guilty and would be arrested as he noted that the Bakgatla chief need only appear before the court as demanded.
The Bakgatla’s conundrum resulted in government and Bakgatla becoming sworn enemies, the condition which did not even help the ruling party in the last general elections as the party lost both seats to opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
Still at the meeting, Member of Parliament for Mochudi East Isaac Davids said the decision to derecognize Kgafela II was not well thought out, and blames the government for the impasse which the tribe finds itself in, having gone five years without chief.
“It was an angry decision, and going forward do not make decisions when you are angry,” he quipped.
Davids said that Kgafela II having a case before the courts was besides the point and what mattered most, he expressed, was for Bakgatla to get their chief back.
Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.
BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203. BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.
The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.
Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.
He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”. He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.
Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.
The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.
Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.
According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.
The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.
Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.
Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.
Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.
In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.
FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.
FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.
One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.
The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.
Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.
In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.
FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.
The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.