The Balopi Commission of 2000 and the Bogosi Act of 2008 caused an old-school tribal divide among members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi this week as the tribal leaders affirmed their vote for a motion agitating for a review of the Bogosi Act of 2008.
In a stretched three day deliberation on a motion proposed by Kgosi Galeakanye Modise of Sefhare/Tswapong area, “requesting Government to make a holistic review of the Bogosi Act”, the tribesmen contended that it contains traces of tribal and stately subjugation, gulfs of disparity in statuses of the DiKgosi, fuels power struggles, is ambiguous and vague with potential to throw confusion into the institution among others concerns.
Dikgosi, Kgari Sechele of Bakwena and Sediegeng Kgamane of Bangwato both from the so called main tribes, were the prime antagonists to the motion.
Kgosi Kgari of the Bakwena described the current Bogosi Act as, “straight forward and consistent with the laws of the country.”
On the other end, Kgosi Kgamane of the Bamangwato rose in fierce opposition to the motion calling for a review of the Act and its sections. During the debate members called for equating of ranks and eminences of the members of the house.
During his interventions Kgosi Kgamane chided Kgosi Maruje of Masunga declaring that the latter’s presentation deduced from the Balopi Commission is a divisive attack laced with hatred and hints of tribalism. Kgosi Maruje stood his ground indicating that he only referenced on the Balopi Commission. He said, “these are results of a Presidential Commission and I can’t stoop to that level and absolve myself from that (argument).”
The Dikgosi said that the constitution and the Bogosi Act show that other chiefs of the so called minority tribes in the North East, Gantsi, Kgalagadi, and Chobe, whose tribes were initially believed had no paramount chiefs are addressed as Dikgosana and having a 3 level hierarchy which translates in their positions being equivalent to lesser positions and status in the chieftaincy structure in comparison with the so called main tribes.
This in turn would mean that other tribal territories such as the Bamangwato regions have three more superior multi level leadership positions above other regions, being the Paramount Chief, Deputy Chief, and Senior Sub Tribal Authority.
Furthermore, Kgamane also opposed the call to end the Bogosana description saying that it is a designation that the current DiKgosi and their fore bearers found in the institution. The emotive and combative Kgamane reasoned that such a designation meant the position of Bogosana meant the occupation and not the individual.
Kgamane, who virtually engaged in a tit-for-tat war of words with Kgosi Maruje Masunga advocated for the Bamangwato to be “left alone with their traditional Chieftainship organisation” to which other members of the house cried foul saying it undermined the seemingly lawful chieftainship organisation of other tribes. Kgamane responded in agitation that, “it is our culture and I ask that our tradition be left as it is, in peace.”
Kgosi Modise outlined 14 sections of the constitution which he said were strikingly ambiguous and vague. Modise outlined section 25(1) that states that, ‘subject to provisions of Subsection (2), a person shall be guilty of an offence if he or she commits any act with intent to undermine the lawful power and authority of a Kgosi.’ Modise said his contention is that the word ‘undermine’ as used in the section is not defined in the definitions section of the Act thus making the extent of the parameters of its application vague.
The Dikgosi also argued that the Bogosi Act confers too many laws on the Minister. Kgosi David Toto of Kgalagadi South backed the motion mover in his displeasure with section 21(1) which says ‘a Kgosi may after consultation with the people of the area and with approval of the minister appoint a person as his or her Moemela Kgosi in respect of any area of his or her tribal territory or tribal area and may in a like manner terminate the appointment.
The members of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi said the current Bogosi Act of 2008 has not fully fixed the anomalies of the scrapped Chieftainship Act of 1987 that perpetuated oppression and tribal inequality. A majority of members of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi said that while changes have been made, vestiges of the old system are still alive and well because only in paper the titles of the DiKgosi have been equated while they are still addressed the old way. It has also emerged that the so called Dikgosi of the main tribes are bought expensive personal Special Utility Vehicles (SUV’s), appointed personal secretaries and paid salaries not at par with other chiefs.
Assistant Minister of Local Government Frans Van Der Westhuizen concurred with the vote of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi that the 7 year old Act “needs to be reviewed to consider amendments are necessary.”
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.
Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama).
Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.