Ntlo Ya Dikgosi recently debated a motion that addressed a number of issues including the Bogosi conditions of service. Dikgosi want the Government to address their conditions of service and are particularly unhappy about being at the direction of the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development. Dikgosi Association and Dikgosana Association are busy lobbying to push for amendments to the Bogosi Act. The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane said he is not aware of complaints from Dikgosi and he has not heard about their meetings.
Bogosi Association and Dikgosana Association are compiling reports to be tabled before the Minister of Local Government and Rural development, Slumber Tsogwane in the near future. Magosi are separately calling for a review of the Bogosi Act, in particular issues that deal with their powers and conditions of service.
Members of Bogosi Association met in Mahalapye this past weekend to address a number of issues linked to the Bogosi Act and are said to be of the view that it must be reviewed and some of their powers be reinstated. Magosi are adamantly incensed by the total powers given to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development over Dikgosi.
Of particular concern are clauses that deal with recognition of Dikgosi, appointments of Magosi and removal of Magosi. They are concerned that the Minister, at least in the spirit of the Bogosi Act appears to be superior to morafhe and may choose to ignore the natural lineage of a particular Bogosi.
Just recently Ntlo Ya Dikgosi debated a motion which called for a review of their conditions of service and or Bogosi Act and want the Minister to push Cabinet to review it. Weekend Post has gathered that the Minister wants to be given documents relating to the debate.
It has come to light that soon after the debate of this matter, Kgosi Lotlaamoreng of Barolong resigned from Bogosi and joined politics. He is representing the opposition, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the Goodhope-Mabule bye-election.
Dikgosi are annoyed that the Bogosi Act disrespects the Botswana culture especially when a Kgosi retires before the mandatory age of 80 years. A Kgosi can serve until they are 80 years.
But at age 60, the Kgosi is forced to retire by the Public Service Act, and his or her fate rests with the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development who chooses to give or not to give him a contract of employment every five years. Such a contract is reviewed by the Minister and the discretion to appoint solely rests with the Minister.
Dikgosi have used Kgosi Sekai of Bakgatla’s case as an example. Former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Peter Siele dethroned him following his battle with government during the flogging case. Dikgosi point out that they are at the mercy of politicians because of the prescriptions of Bogosi Act.
This publication has gathered that some Magosi are threatening to jump ship and join the political bandwagon because that is where “their power has been taken”. On the other hand Magosana are at logger heads with government over low salaries and lack of recognition. They want their conditions of service to be reviewed because there are Magosana who are not paid at all, “all we are doing is just a national service,” one Kgosana told WeekendPost.
Dikgosi are of the view that their influence and leadership over merafhe is being undermined by government to an extent that they are treated as civil servants.
Kgosi Gaamangwe Garebakwena, spokesperson of Dikgosana Association indicated that he was aware that Dikgosi Association met at the weekend but he was not privy to the details. He said Dikgosana Association is also meeting very soon to discuss issues affecting their institution. However, he pointed out that it is important to address the root cause of why Dikgosi are joining politics. “What is attracting Dikgosi to politics? We must deal with the cause then we will protect the Bogosi institution,” he said.
There are fears that Magosana in the villages may take a shot at politics come 2019 because they want some resemblance of power, better salaries and improved living standards. “These people are aware of the influence they have in their communities and it can be an easy decision for them to join a structure that could quickly bring changes to their personal lives and the lives of those they lead,” said a Kgosana who preferred anonymity. In fact during the Ntlo Ya Dikgosi debate one of the Dikgosi remarked that “Dikgosi are a government in waiting.”
The Repeal of Chieftainship Act
The Chieftainship Act CAP 41:01 was repealed by Section 29 of Bogosi Act of 2008 which commenced on the 30th April 2008. Bogosi Act of 2008 was enacted as a consequence of the Report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry of 2000 otherwise known as The Balopi Commission, into Sections 77, 78 and 79 of the Constitution of Botswana which dealt with the perceived tribal discrimination. The Balopi Commission was thus aimed at solving the problem of tribal inequality in Botswana. The Bogosi Act of 2008 resulted in the nomenclature – House of Chiefs – changing to Ntlo ya Dikgosi, the title Chief changed to Kgosi and the number of members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi increased from twelve (12) to thirty four (34).
Some contentious clauses as captured from the Bogosi Act:
Who is a Kgosi
A Kgosi is an individual who- (a) possesses such minimum educational qualifications as may be prescribed from time to time; (b) has been designated as Kgosi under section 6; and (c) is recognised as a Kgosi by the Minister in accordance with the provisions of sections 6 and 21.
Removal of Kgosi
(1) If- (a) the Minister has reasonable cause to believe that the Kgosi of any tribe; or
(b) any tribe or section of a tribe lodges with the Minister a complaint that the Kgosi of that tribe, is incapable of exercising his or her powers, has abused his or her powers, is being insubordinate or is refusing or has refused to carry out lawful orders, or is for any reason not a fit and proper person to be a Kgosi, the Minister shall make such enquiry or cause such enquiry to be made as he or she may consider appropriate and shall afford the Kgosi an opportunity to be heard.
(2) If after the holding of an enquiry under subsection (1), the allegations made against the Kgosi are proved, the Minister may- (a) caution or reprimand the Kgosi; (b) order the stoppage of increment of the salary of the Kgosi; (c) suspend the Kgosi; (d) if he or she considers it to be expedient and in the interest of peace, good order and good governance, depose such Kgosi or extend the suspension for a period not exceeding two years.
(3) Where the allegations made against a Kgosi have not been substantiated at the enquiry, the Kgosi shall be reinstated.
Withdrawal of recognition from Kgosi
The Minister may, by notice published in the Gazette, at any time, withdraw recognition from a Kgosi if- (a) the Kgosi has been deposed and his or her appeal against the deposition has been dismissed or the period allowed for appealing has elapsed without an appeal having been brought; or (b) the Minister considers it to be in the public interest to withdraw recognition.
Directions by Minister
(1) The Minister may issue directions in writing to any Kgosi, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, for the better carrying out of the provisions of this Act. (2) Any Kgosi who without good cause fails to comply with any directions given to him or her by the Minister shall be liable to be reprimanded, suspended, stoppage of increment of salary or deposed in accordance with the provisions of section 13.
For so many years, Botswana has been trying to be a self-sufficient country that is able to provide its citizens with locally produced food products. Through appropriate collaborations with parastatals such as CEDA, ISPAAD and LEA, government introduced initiatives such as the Horticulture Impact Accelerator Subsidy-IAS and other funding facilities to facilitate horticultural farmers to increase production levels.
Now that COVID-19 took over and disrupted the food value chain across all economies, Botswana government introduced these initiatives to reduce the import bill by enhancing local market and relieve horticultural farmers from loses or impacts associated with the pandemic.
In more concerted efforts to curb these food crises in the country, government extended the ploughing period for the Southern part of Botswana. The extension was due to the late start of rains in the Southern part of the country.
Last week the Ministry of Agriculture extended the ploughing period for the Northern part of the country, mainly because of rains recently experienced in the country. With these decisions taken urgently, government optimizes food security and reliance on local food production.
When pigs fly, Botswana will be able to produce food to feed its people. This is evident by the numbers released by Statistics Botswana on imports recorded in November 2020, on their International Merchandise Trade Statistics for the month under review.
The numbers say Botswana continues to import most of its food from neighbouring South Africa. Not only that, Batswana relies on South Africa to have something to smoke, to drink and even use as machinery.
According to data from Statistics Botswana, the country’s total imports amounted to P6.881 Million. Diamonds contributed to the total imports at 33%, which is equivalent to P2.3 Million. This was followed by food, beverages and tobacco, machinery and electrical equipment which stood at P912 Million and P790 Million respectively.
Most of these commodities were imported from The Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The Union supplied Botswana with imports valued at over P4.8 Million of Botswana’s imports for the month under review (November 2020). The top most imported commodity group from SACU region was food, beverages and tobacco, with a contribution of P864 Million, which is likely to be around 18.1% of the total imports from the region.
Diamonds and fuel, according to these statistics, contributed 16.0%, or P766 Million and 13.5% or P645 Million respectively. Botswana also showed a strong and desperate reliance on neighbouring South Africa for important commodities. Even though the borders between the two countries in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, government took a decision to open border gates for essential services which included the transportation of commodities such as food.
Imports from South Africa recorded in November 2020 stood at P4.615 Million, which accounted for 67.1% of total imports during the month under review. Still from that country, Botswana bought food, beverages and tobacco worth P844 Million (18.3%), diamonds, machinery and fuel worth P758 Million, P601 Million and P562 Million respectively.
Botswana also imported chemicals and rubber products that made a contribution of 11.7% (P542.2 Million) to total imports from South Africa during the month under review, (November 2020).
The European Union also came to Botswana’s rescue in the previous year. Botswana received imports worth P698.3 Million from the EU, accounting for 10.1% of the total imports during the same month. The major group commodity imported from the EU was diamonds, accounting for 86.9% (P606.6 Million), of imports from the Union. Belgium was the major source of imports from the EU, at 8.9% (P609.1 Million) of total imports during the period under review.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and Economic Development Thapelo Matsheka says an improvement in exports and commodity prices will drive growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Growth in the region is anticipated to recover modestly to 3.2% in 2021. Matsheka said this when delivering the Annual Budget Speech virtually in Gaborone on the 1st of February 2021.
He said implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which became operational in January 2021, could reduce the region’s vulnerability to global disruptions, as well as deepen trade and economic integration.
“This could also help boost competition and productivity. Successful implementation of AfCFTA will, of necessity, require Member States to eliminate both tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and generally make it easier to do business and invest across borders.”
Matsheka, who is also a Member of Parliament for Lobatse, an ailing town which houses the struggling biggest meat processing company in the country- Botswana Meat Commission, (BMC), said the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) recognizes the need to prioritize the key processes required for the implementation of the AfCFTA.
“The revised SACU Tariff Offer, which comprises 5,988 product lines with agreed Rules of Origin, representing 77% of the SACU Tariff Book, was submitted to the African Union Commission (AUC) in November 2020. The government is in the process of evaluating the tariff offers of other AfCFTA members prior to ratification, following which Botswana’s participation in AfCFTA will come to effect.”
Women continue to shadow men in politics – stereotypes such as ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’ cast the notion that women cannot lead. The 2019 general election recorded one of Botswana’s worst performances when it comes to women participation in parliamentary democracy with only three women elected to parliament.
Botswana’s former Minister of Health, Professor Sheila Tlou who is currently the Co-Chair, Global HIV Prevention Coalition & Nursing Now and an HIV, Gender & Human Rights Activist is not amused by the status quo. Tlou attributes this dilemma facing women to a number of factors, which she is convinced influence the voting patterns of Batswana when it comes to women politicians.
Professor Tlou plugs the party level voting systems as the first hindrance that blocks women from ascending to power. According to the former Minister of Health, there is inadequate amount of professionalism due to corrupt internal party structures affecting the voters roll and ultimately leading to voter apathy for those who end up struck off the voters rolls under dubious circumstances.
Tlou also stated that women’s campaigns are often clean; whilst men put to play the ‘politics is dirty metaphor using financial muscle to buy voters into voting for them without taking into consideration their abilities and credibility. The biggest hurdle according to Tlou is the fallacy that ‘Women cannot lead’, which is also perpetuated by other women who discourage people from voting for women.
There are numerous factors put on the table when scrutinizing a woman, she can be either too old, or too young, or her marital status can be used against her. An unmarried woman is labelled as a failure and questioned on how she intends on being a leader when she failed to have a home. The list is endless including slut shaming women who have either been through a divorce or on to their second marriages, Tlou observed.
The only way that voters can be emancipated from this mentality according to Tlou is through a robust voter education campaign tailor made to run continuously and not be left to the eve of elections as it is usually done. She further stated that the current crop of women in parliament must show case their abilities and magnify them – this will help make it clear that they too are worthy of votes.
And to women intending to run for office, Tlou encouraged them not to wait for the eleventh hour to show their interest and rather start in community mobilisation projects as early as possible so that the constituents can get to know them and their abilities prior to the election date.
Youthful Botswana National Front (BNF) leader and feminist, Resego Kgosidintsi blames women’s mentality towards one another which emanates from the fact that women have been socialised from a tender age that they cannot be leaders hence they find it difficult to vote for each other.
Kgosidintsi further states that, “Women do not have enough economic resources to stage effective campaigns. They are deemed as the natural care givers and would rather divert their funds towards raising children and building homes over buying campaign materials.”
Meanwhile, Vice President of the Alliance for Progressives (AP), Wynter Mmolotsi agrees that women’s participation in politics in Botswana remains a challenge. To address this Mmolotsi suggested that there should be constituencies reserved for women candidates only so that the outcome regardless of the party should deliver a woman Member of Parliament.
Mmolotsi further suggested that Botswana should ditch the First Past the Post system of election and opt for the proportional representation where contesting parties will dutifully list able women as their representatives in parliament.
On why women do not get elected, Mmolotsi explained that he had heard first hand from voters that they are reluctant to vote for women since they have limited access to them once they have won; unlike their male counterparts who have proven to be available night or day.
The pre-historic awarding of gender roles relegating women to be pregnant and barefoot at home and the man to be out there fending for the family has disadvantaged women in political and other professional careers.