We continue with the series where we remember those of our heroes and heroines who, though unwanted by government, made immense contributions to the legacy we will be celebrating this year. This week we discuss Kgosi Linchwe II of BaKgatla.
Kgosi Linchwe II a Molefi II a Kgafela a Linchwe a Kgamanyane a Pilane a Pheto a Molefe a Kgwefane a Mare a Masellane a Tebele a Kgafela was born on 2nd May 1935 as the first and only son of Kgosi Molefi II and Motlatsi Pilane.
Linchwe went to Linchwe I Primary School and Mochudi National School after which he proceeded to St. Joseph’s College. For his secondary education he went to Emmarentia Geldenhuys School in Warbaths, South Africa. Reportedly, he left Emmarentia because his father, Kgosi Molefi, did not want him to turn into a Boer.
After the tragic death of his father in a car accident in 1958, Linchwe went for his further studies at Woodchester Park School and Southern Municipal College in the United Kingdom. During his absence, his uncle, Kgosi Mmusi Pilane, served as his regent. Linchwe was installed as Kgosi Kgolo of Bakgatla on 6th April 1963.
In 1966 Linchwe married a Bakgatla Baga Mmakau princess, Kathleen Nono Motsepe, known as MmaSeingwaeng. This marriage is significant in that it brought peace within the Bakgatla royal family, and wider Bakgatla community. It also reduced the hostility between adherents of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) and those of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC).
According to Dr. Jeff Ramsay, writing in the Sunday Standard edition of 26th August 2007, “For many decades the leader of the later faction was Linchwe’s grandmother, Seingwaeng.â€¨In 1947 Seingwaeng, along with other leading Zionists, was exiled from Kgatleng by her son, Kgosi Molefi. The group subsequently found refuge, in 1953, at Lentswe le Moriti”.
Linchwe deserves commendation because after his installation as Kgosi Kgolo, he ensured Seingwaeng’s return to Mochudi. In another admirable reconciliatory gesture he invited the ZCC’s Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane and his band to be a part of his wedding celebration.
It is regrettable that Linchwe’s gesture notwithstanding, the Kgatleng District Council only officially lifted the ZCC ban in 1968. According to Dr. Ramsay “…Over the years, Linchwe was called upon to play a mediating role in internal church disputes involving local Lutherans, as well as ZCC and DRC.”
Like Kgosi Seepapitso IV of BaNgwaketse, Linchwe served in the public service. He served as Botswana’s Ambassador to the United States of America from 1969 to 1972. He also served as the President of the Customary Court of Appeal from 1991 until he joined his ancestors in 2007.
Not only that. Linchwe served as the Chairman of the Kgatleng District Council for many years until he voluntarily stepped down in 1982.â€¨During the late 1970s, he led the Botswana National Football Association as its president.
Linchwe initiated several development projects in Kgatleng. Through the international contacts he had established with the assistance of his associate, prominent author and social activist, Lady Naomi Mitchison, he undertook such projects as the establishment of the Mochudi Library, Linchwe II Secondary School, the Mochudi Community Centre (later called Kgatleng Youth Development Association) and the Refugee Centre.
According to Dr. Ramsay “…The Refugee Centre, which was the only such institution in the region under a “tribal authority”, was established through Linchwe’s contact with Martin Ennals, who would later go on to found Amnesty International.” Other projects initiated and/or supported by Linchwe were the establishment of the Lentswe la Odi Weavers, Phuthadikobo Museum and the Botswana Work Camps Association.
Linchwe played a significant role in the fight against racism. He accompanied Lady Mitchison to the then racially segregated Mafikeng in 1963; he, in 1964, brandishing a gun, entered into the “whites only” bar in Mahalapye, after having first been refused service; he barred an alleged racist from entering Mochudi in 1965 and he, in 1969, insisted in using the whites only entrance at the then Jan Smuts Airport in Johannesburg.
According to Sandy Grant’s Botswana Notes and Records Linchwe banned “…a white Station Master at Pilane from entering Mochudi. This was after the Station Master had ordered Mrs. Pauline Chiepe out of the whites only seat in 1964…In 1977, he refused to attend the centenary anniversary celebrations of the Dutch Reformed Church in Mochudi. At some stage, the church had the “whites only” sign on a door.”
Linchwe, together with Kgosi Bathoen II of BaNgwaketse and Kgosi Kelemogile Mokgosi of Balete fought in defense of Bogosi when its position was threatened in view of Botswana’s move towards independence. This they did by arguing for the retention of Bogosi at the 1963 Constitutional Conference held in Lobatse.
Like his son and successor, Kgosi Kgafela II, Linchwe was, in the 1960s, critical of the role played by the House of Chiefs and turned down offers to be its first Chairman.
According to Dr. Ramsay, the then British Resident Commissioner, Sir Peter Fawcus, stated that “Chief Linchwe said that he was personally not able to see that the House of Chiefs would be of value…”
However, later Linchwe accepted the House of Chiefs. Sir Fawcus quoted him during our 20th anniversary of independence saying “I doubt if a House of Chiefs exists in other countries. But here, we Batswana have been led by chiefs from time immemorial and we have realized it would be wrong to get rid of chieftainship as such…so we decided to provide in our constitution for two Houses – The National Assembly and the House of Chiefs…”
Like Kgosi Seepapitso IV, Linchwe was not trusted by government because of suspicion that he was a member of the Opposition. This suspicion was worsened when, in 1963, he delivered a welcoming address at the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP)’s annual conference held in Mochudi.â€¨
According to Dr. Ramsay “Many of the then Kgatleng based BPP activists had earlier been associated with a local political movement of mostly young progressives, commonly known as “Mphetsebe”, which had advocated for Linchwe’s early installation”.
Tshire, Linchwe’s sister, did not help matters when she openly campaigned for the BPP Mochudi candidate, T.W. Motlhagodi, who won the Parliamentary seat during Botswana’s first elections in 1965.
According to Dr. Ramsay these suspicions grew because “…from April to October 1965, Linchwe further hosted a series of meetings among opposition political figures in Mochudi which, on the 10th of October, culminated in the launching of the Botswana National Front”.
However, Dr. Ramsay writes that “after opening this gathering, Linchwe withdrew on the grounds that his position barred him from active participation in partisan politics.â€¨However, during the same period, Dr. Koma was allowed to use Linchwe’s office, where he wrote Pamphlet No. 1.”
Apparently, not even the fact that in 1965 Mochudi hosted the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s 4th National Conference abated government’s suspicion that Linchwe was pro-Opposition. On the contrary, according to Dr. Ramsay “…the political speculation resurfaced during the 1984 election, when Linchwe was suspected of being sympathetic to Ray Molomo’s unsuccessful bid to unseat the then Member of Parliament (MP), Greek Ruele, in the BDP’s primary elections.”
Dr. Ramsay continues to say, “…thereafter, there was further controversy when Linchwe acquiesced, despite Ruele’s strong protests, to the use by an independent candidate, Sandy Grant, of the Bakgatla totem, a monkey, as his election symbol; (Grant, however, agreed to give up the symbol)”.
Government’s displeasure with Linchwe was confirmed when shortly after the election the then Assistant Minister of Local Government and Lands, Lesedi Mothibamele, reprimanded Linchwe during a kgotla meeting for meddling in politics.
Linchwe’s relationship with the Opposition was not without incident. According to the Daily News’s edition of 29th August 2007 “…his car was petrol bombed at Motimalenyora Bar in Mochudi in 1976… The bombing followed a series of events involving him and Opposition politicians. It all started with a meeting he addressed in Mochudi, urging Batswana to contribute towards Botswana University Campus Appeal…”
The report continues to say “…at the meeting, a certain Rapula Sello spoke against the appeal but Kgosi Linchwe reprimanded him for introducing a BNF resolution at the kgotla. The BNF had resolved at a meeting in Serowe earlier in the week to discourage its members from contributing to BUCA…”
It goes on to say “…the following weekend, the BNF attacked him at a meeting in Gaborone and challenged him to decide whether he was the Bakgatla Kgosi or a BDP MP. One of the speakers at that meeting was subsequently arrested and convicted for the car bombing, but was acquitted on appeal…”
According to the report “…Kgosi Linchwe had in response to the BNF attack said party officials who attacked him had placed the noose around their necks and invited me to pull. Activities of the BNF remained low in Kgatleng following the run-ins. It was only in 1984 when Dr. Kenneth Koma initiated reconciliation moves that the party regrouped in the district.
Linchwe also endeavored to preserve his tribe’s culture. In 1975 he attempted to revive the male and female initiation practices of bogwera and bojale. Linchwe, being the culturist he was, imposed his own hunting bans on certain species as dictated by custom.
Being the non-conformist he was, during bogwera and bojale, Linchwe organised unlicensed hunts for the initiates, something which brought him at loggerheads with Department of Wildlife officers.
Linchwe also called for the legalization of dagga; the expulsion of corrupt local Councillors, educational reforms such as Education with Production and Bakgatla volunteers to assist in the liberation of Zimbabwe. The Daily News reports that “…in 1974, he abandoned the body of a Motswana on a table at Sikwane Immigration Offices after staff refused the body entry because the deceased had no passport…The body was finally allowed into the country for burial after intervention by Home Affairs Minister Mr. Bakwena Kgari…”
Perhaps because of MmaSeingwaeng’s influence Linchwe was also pro-women rights and empowerment. In 1964, he allowed women to fully participate in kgotla meetings. In 1979 he raised paternity payments in Kgatleng from the standard P 180.00 to P 720.00 to cater for inflation.
In 1991 Linchwe relived himself of the daily affairs of his morafe to become the President of the Customary Court of Appeal. The stain in his reign remains the 1994 riots following the alleged ritual killing of a school girl, Segametsi Mogomotsi. Linchwe angered the rioters when he appealed for the Police to be given time to investigate the gruesome murder, something which fueled suspicion that he was involved in the ritual murder.
The world in which we live is a criminally unequal one. In his iconic 1945 allegorical novella, Animal Farm, a satire on the facetiousness of the then Soviet Empire’s crackbrained experiment with a command economy, the legendary George Orwell in my view hit the nail squarely on the head when he said all animals were equal but some animals were more equal than others.
That’s the never-ending dichotomy of the so-called First World and its polar opposite, the so-called Third World as Orwell’s cleverly-couched diatribe applies as much to the tread-of-the-mill laissez faire economics of our day as it did to Marxist-Leninist Russia a generation back.
Even as the Nation of Israeli braced to militarily take possession of the Promised Land, General, its top three senior citizens, namely Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, were not destined to share in this god-conferred bequest. All three died before the lottery was won.
Financial Reporting (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and Accountants (Amendment) Bill, 2020 were expeditiously passed by parliament on Thursday.
What are these two Bills really about? The Bills are essentially about professional values that are applicable to auditors and accountants in their practice. The Bills seeks to basically enhance existing laws to ensure more uprightness, fairness, professional proficiency, due care, expertise and or professional technical standards.
The Financial Reporting Act, 2010 (FRA) establishes the Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA), as the country’s independent regulator of the accounting and auditing profession. BAOA is responsible for the oversight and registration of audit firms and certified auditors of public interest entities.
In the same vein, there is the Accountants Act, 2010 establishing the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) which is responsible for the registration and regulation of the accounting and auditing profession. This consequently infers that some auditors have to register first with BICA as certified auditors, and also with BAOA as certified auditors of public bodies. So, the Bills sought to avert the duplication.
According to Minister Matsheka, the duplication of efforts in the regulation of auditors, which is done by both BICA and BAOA, creates a substantial gap on oversight of certified auditors in Botswana, as the two entities have different review procedures. He contends that the enforcement of sanctions becomes problematic and, thus, leads to offenders going Scot-Free, and audit quality standards also continue to plunge.
The Financial Reporting (Amendment) Bill, 2020, in the view of the Minister, brings the oversight and regulation of all auditors in Botswana under the jurisdiction of the Accountancy Oversight Authority and that Bringing all auditors within one roof, under the supervision of BAOA would therefore reinforce their oversight and significantly enhance accountability.
He also pointed that the Bill broadens the current mandate of the Authority by redefining public interest entities to include public bodies, defined as boards, tribunals, commissions, councils, committees, other body corporate or unincorporated established under any enactment.
This covers any company in which government has an equity shareholding. In order to enable the process of instituting fitting sanctions against violation of its provisions, the Bill clearly lays down acts and lapses that constitute professional misconduct.
This Bill further strengthens the sanctions for breach of the Act by public interest entities, officers, firms, and certified auditors. Reinforcing the law with respect to such sanctions will act as an effective deterrent for breach of the Act.
The Accountants Bill also strengthens the current mandate of the Institute by making it obligatory for those who provide accountancy services in Botswana to register with the Institute, and for all employers to hire accountants who are registered with the Institute.
The Minister reasons that in line with the spirit of citizen empowerment, this Bill proposes reservation of at least 50% of the Council membership for citizens. This, he says, is to empower citizens and ensure that citizenries play an active role in the affairs of the Institute, and ultimately in the development of the accounting profession in Botswana.
The Bills come at a point when Botswana’s financial sector is in a quagmire. The country has been blacklisted by the European Union. Its international rankings on Corruption Perception Index have slightly reduced. According to recent reports by Afro Barometer survey, perceptions of corruption in the public service have soured and so is mistrust in public institutions.
Rating agencies, Standard Poor’s and Moody’s have downgraded Botswana, albeit slightly. The reasons are that there continues to be corruption, fiscal and revenue crimes such as money laundering and general unethical governance in the country. There are still loopholes in many laws despite the enactments and amendments of more than thirty laws in the last two years.
One of the most critical aspect of enhancing transparency and accountability and general good governance, is to have a strong auditing and accounting systems. Therefore, such professions must be properly regulated to ensure that public monies are protected against white color crime. It is well known that some audit firms are highly unprincipled.
They are responsible for tax avoidance and tax evasions of some major companies. Some are responsible for fraud that has been committed. They are more loyal to money paid by clients than to ethical professional standards. They shield clients against accountability. Some companies and parastatals have collapsed or have been ruined financially despite complementary reports by auditors.
In some cases, we have seen audit firms auditing parastatals several times to almost becoming resident auditors. This is bad practice which is undesirable. Some auditors who were appointed liquidators of big companies have committee heinous crimes of corruption, imprudent management, fraud and outright recklessness without serious consequences.
There is also a need to protect whistleblowers as they have been victimized for blowing the whistle on impropriety. In fact, in some cases, audit firms have exonerated culprits who are usually corrupt corporate executives.
The accounting and auditing professions have been dominated by foreigners for a very long time. Most major auditing firms used by state entities and big private sector companies are owned by foreigners. There has to be a deliberate plan to have Batswana in this profession.
While there are many Batswana who are accountants, less are chartered accountants. There must be deliberate steps to wrestle the profession from foreigners by making citizens to be chartered. It is also important to strengthen the Auditor General. The office is created by the constitution.
The security of tenure is clearly secured in the constitution. However, this security of tenure was undermined by the appointing authority in many instances whereby the Auditor General was appointed on a short-term contract. The office is part of the civil service and is not independent at all.
The Auditor General is placed, in terms of scale, at Permanent Secretary level and is looked at as a peer by others who think they can’t be instructed by their equivalent to comply. Some have failed to submit books of accounts for audits, e.g. for special funds without fear or respect of the office. There is need to relook this office by making it more independent and place it higher than Permanent Secretaries.