In our previous instalment we noted that excavations at Khami and other Chibundule era sites confirm that from the sixteenth century the Bakalanga and their neighbours were connected to extensive international trading networks. Ceramics and glass objects of Chinese, Dutch, German and Portuguese origin have been unearthed, along with fragments of both imported and locally manufactured cotton cloth, indigenous pottery and objects made of gold, iron and copper.
There was also considerable local manufacturing. Indigenous pride in traditional cottage industries is reflected in the following Ikalanga verses praising their “cleverness” (“Buchenjebvu gwebaKalanga nebunyambi”:)
“(Translation:) They knew the iron which is in the earth and families collected copper ore, which was taken to the enclosures for extracting and smelting. There the following things were cast: hoes, spears, axes, knives, earrings, bracelets, blades, long needles, hoop irons, pairs of pliers to hold other iron and adzes for carpentry. Their eating utensils included pots moulded from clay, plates, mortars and pestles, wooden spoons, winnowing baskets and big baskets for storing things. Their clothing came from wild animals and from livestock, and also from their sinew, which was used for sewing cords. All the people who were making these things were called makers of the eating utensils, of blankets, and of spears….”
The Bakalanga also became renowned for their possession of imported firearms, including cannon. By the nineteenth century they, along with their Vashona cousins had begun to construct guns of local manufacture known by the Chishona name “chigidi” or “zvigidi”, as well as make their own gunpowder by combining charcoal with salt-petre extracted from soils found in certain caves.
While the Chibundule state was known to the Portuguese by the names Torwa/Tolwa and Butwa, and archaeologists sometimes speak of “Khami culture”, Ikalanga traditions associate the dynasty with the Bawumbe (Bahumbe) sub-group of the Balilima-Bakalanga. In this respect, oral traditions link the Chibundule kings with a number of Botswana based lineages.
One set of traditions speaks of Chibundule’s inheritance being fought over by three sons: Misola, Makulukusa and Mpengo. According to these traditions, the eldest of the three sons, Misola, ended up moving to Ramokgwebana, where he was ultimately succeeded by Mosojane. Under Mosojane the group was joined by Mpengo’s followers and moved to Maswingwa where they stayed until the early twentieth century when their land came under the control of the Tati Company.
Makulukusa’s followers are said to have initially settled at Mabilila on the Nkange River. In his later years he came into conflict with his son Nkuse, whom he called “Madandume” (“you are greedy”). Eventually Nkuse sought the protection of Men’we, a junior descendent of Nichasike (Changamire) who had been sent by his brother the Mambo to administer much of north-eastern Botswana. With Men’we’s backing Nkuse was subsequently able to oust his father from the throne. His senior descendants are today based at Tutume, a name which may be derived from “Madandume”.
Given that the direct descendants of Misola, Makulakusa and Mpengo are today all found in Botswana, there exact relationship with the mainline of the Chibundule royal lineage is uncertain. It may be that the three brothers were indeed the true heirs of the last of the Chibundule mambo’s who initially fled south west into modern Botswana to escape the usurper Nichasike. The latter figure overthrew the Chibundule dynasty c. 1685. The Bawumbe migration is at any rate recorded in the following royal Nichasike era tradition of a time of turmoil:
[Translation:] “….and those of Moyo totem migrated to into Botalaote [country of Dalahunde] and also those of Makulukusa and of Misola and of Nichibombwe; and now all were of one clan name for they were known as Chibelu. And they all also migrated into Botalaote. And also Nikati Chibwa was of Talaote, a Nyayi. And those of Mwayile and Mhange and Kwelekwele, they also all changed their names: Mwayile and Mhange both took the clan name Chuma and Kwelekwele was called Gumbo. These all migrated from under Ngomane, some who came from Boteti said they were Deti and others were Bawumbe. Some went on to Botswapong…”
The Central Bank has by way of its Monetary Policy Statement informed us that the Botswana economy is likely to contract by 8.9 percent over the course of the year 2020.
The IMF paints an even gloomier picture – a shrinkage of the order of 9.6 percent. That translates to just under $2 billion hived off from the overall economic yield given our average GDP of roughly $18 billion a year. In Pula terms, this is about P23 billion less goods and services produced in the country and you and I have a good guess as to what such a sum can do in terms of job creation and sustainability, boosting tax revenue, succouring both recurrent and development expenditure, and on the whole keeping our teeny-weeny economy in relatively good nick.
Joseph’s and Judah’s family lines conjoin to produce lineal seed
Just to recap, General Atiku, the Israelites were not headed for uncharted territory. The Promised Land teemed with Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These nations were not simply going to cut and run when they saw columns of battle-ready Israelites approach: they were going to fight to the death.
Parliament has begun debates on three related Private Members Bills on the conditions of service of members of the Security Sector.
The Bills are Prisons (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Police (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and Botswana Defence Force (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bills seek to amend the three statutes so that officers are placed on full salaries when on interdictions or suspensions whilst facing disciplinary boards or courts of law.
In terms of the Public Service Act, 2008 which took effect in 2010, civil servants who are indicted are paid full salary and not a portion of their emolument. Section 35(3) of the Act specifically provides that “An employee’s salary shall not be withheld during the period of his or her suspension”.
However, when parliament reformed the public service law to allow civil servants to unionize, among other things, and extended the said protection of their salaries, the process was not completed. When the House conferred the benefit on civil servants, members of the disciplined forces were left out by not accordingly amending the laws regulating their employment.
The Bills stated above seeks to ask Parliament to also include members of the forces on the said benefit. It is unfair not to include soldiers or military officers, police officers and prison waders in the benefit. Paying an officer who is facing either external or internal charges full pay is in line with the notion of ei incumbit probation qui dicit, non qui negat or the presumption of innocence; that the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies.
The officers facing charges, either internal disciplinary or criminal charges before the courts, must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Paying them a portion of their salary is penalty and therefore arbitrary. Punishment by way of loss of income or anything should come as a result of a finding on the guilt by a competent court of law, tribunal or disciplinary board.
What was the rationale behind this reform in 2008 when the Public Service Act was adopted? First it was the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.
The presumption of innocence is the legal principle that one is considered “innocent until proven guilty”. In terms of the constitution and other laws of Botswana, the presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, and it is an international human right under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11.
Withholding a civil servant’s salary because they are accused of an internal disciplinary offense or a criminal offense in the courts of law, was seen as punishment before a decision by a tribunal, disciplinary board or a court of law actually finds someone culpable. Parliament in its wisdom decided that no one deserves this premature punishment.
Secondly, it was considered that people’s lives got destroyed by withholding of financial benefits during internal or judicial trials. Protection of wages is very important for any worker. Workers commit their salaries, they pay mortgages, car loans, insurances, schools fees for children and other things. When public servants were experiencing salary cuts because of interdictions, they lost their homes, cars and their children’s future.
They plummeted into instant destitution. People lost their livelihoods. Families crumbled. What was disheartening was that in many cases, these workers are ultimately exonerated by the courts or disciplinary tribunals. When they are cleared, the harm suffered is usually irreparable. Even if one is reimbursed all their dues, it is difficult to almost impossible to get one’s life back to normal.
There is a reasoning that members of the security sector should be held to very high standards of discipline and moral compass. This is true. However, other more senior public servants such as judges, permanent secretary to the President and ministers have faced suspensions, interdictions and or criminal charges in the courts but were placed on full salaries.
The yardstick against which security sector officers are held cannot be higher than the aforementioned public officials. It just wouldn’t make sense. They are in charge of the security and operate in a very sensitive area, but cannot in anyway be held to higher standards that prosecutors, magistrates, judges, ministers and even senior officials such as permanent secretaries.
Moreover, jail guards, police officers and soldiers, have unique harsh punishments which deter many of them from committing misdemeanors and serious crimes. So, the argument that if the suspension or interdiction with full pay is introduced it would open floodgates of lawlessness is illogical.
Security Sector members work in very difficult conditions. Sometimes this drives them into depression and other emotional conditions. The truth is that many seldom receive proper and adequate counseling or such related therapies. They see horrifying scenes whilst on duty. Jail guards double as hangmen/women.
Detectives attend to autopsies on cases they are dealing with. Traffic police officers are usually the first at accident scenes. Soldiers fight and kill poachers. In all these cases, their minds are troubled. They are human. These conditions also play a part in their behaviors. They are actually more deserving to be paid full salaries when they’re facing allegations of misconduct.
To withhold up to 50 percent of the police, prison workers and the military officers’ salaries during their interdiction or suspensions from work is punitive, insensitive and prejudicial as we do not do the same for other employees employed by the government.
The rest enjoy their full salaries when they are at home and it is for a good reason as no one should be made to suffer before being found blameworthy. The ruling party seems to have taken a position to negate the Bills and the collective opposition argue in the affirmative. The debate have just began and will continue next week Thursday, a day designated for Private Bills.