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.
Intelligence and Security Service Act, which is a law that establishes the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DIS), provides for establishment of a Parliamentary Committee. Recently, the President announced nine names of Members of Parliament he had appointed to the Committee.
This announcement was preceded by a meeting the President held with the Speaker and the Leader of Opposition. Following the announcement of Committee MPs by the President, the opposition, through its leader, made it clear that it will not participate in the Committee unless certain conditions that would ensure effective oversight are met. The opposition acted on the non-participation threat through resignation of its three MPs from the Committee.
The Act at Section 38 provides for the establishment of the Committee to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Directorate. The law provides that the Parliamentary Committee shall have the same powers and privileges set out under the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act.
On composition, the Committee shall consist of nine members who shall not be members of Cabinet and its quorum shall be five members. The MPs in the Committee elect a chairperson from among their number at their first meeting.
The Members of the Committee are appointed by the President after consultation with the Speaker of the National Assembly and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. It is the provision of the law that the Committee, relative to its size, reflect the numerical strengths of the political parties represented in the National Assembly.
The Act provides that that a member of the Committee holds office for the duration of the Parliament in which he or she is appointed. The Committee is mandated to make an annual report on the discharge of their functions to the President and may at any time report to him or her on any matter relating to the discharge of those functions.
The Minister responsible for intelligence and security is obliged to lay before the National Assembly a copy of each annual report made by the Committee together with a statement as to whether any matter has been excluded from that copy in pursuance of the provision of the Act.
If it appears to the Minister, after consultation with the Parliamentary Committee, that the publication of any matter in a report would be prejudicial to the continued discharge of the functions of the Directorate, the Minister may exclude that matter from the copy of the report as laid before the National Assembly.
So, what are the specific demands of the Opposition and why are they not participating in the Committee? What should happen as a way forward? The Opposition demanded that there be a forensic audit of the Directorate. The DIS has never been audited since it was set up in 2008, more than a decade ago.
The institution has been a law unto itself for a longtime, feared by all oversight bodies. The Auditor General, who had no security of tenure, could not audit the DIS. The Directorate’s personnel, especially at a high level, have been implicated in corruption. Some of its operatives are in courts of law defending corruption charges preferred against them. Some of the corruption cases which appeared in the media have not made it to the courts.
The DIS has been accused of non-accountability and unethical practices as well as of being a burden on the fiscus. So, the Opposition demanded, from the President, a forensic audit for the purpose of cleaning up the DIS. They demand a start from a clean slate.
The second demand by the Opposition is that the law be reviewed to ensure greater accountability of the DIS to Parliament. What are some of the issues that the opposition think should be reviewed? The contention is that the executive cannot appoint a Committee of Parliament to scrutinize an executive institution.
Already, it is argued, Parliament is less independent and it is dominated by the executive. It is contended that the Committee should be established by the Standing Orders and be appointed by a Select Committee of Parliament. There is also an argument that the Committee should report to Parliament and not to the President and that the Minister should not have any role in the Committee.
Democratic and Parliamentary oversight of the intelligence is relatively a new phenomenon across the World. Even developed democracies are still grappling with some of these issues. However, there are acceptable standards or what might be called international best practices which have evolved over the past two or so decades.
In the UK for instance, MPs of the Intelligence and Security Committee are appointed by the Houses of Parliament, having been nominated by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. This is a good balancing exercise of involvement of both the executive and the legislature. Consultation is taken for granted in Botswana context in the sense that it has been reduced to just informing the Leader of Opposition without much regard to his or her ideas; they are never taken seriously.
Furthermore, the current Committee in the UK has four Members of the ruling party and five MPs from the opposition. It is a fairly balanced Committee in terms of Parliamentary representation. However, as said above, the President of Botswana appointed six ruling party MPs and three from the opposition.
The imbalance is preposterous and more pronounced with clear intentions of getting the executive way through the ruling party representatives in the Committee. The intention to avoid scrutiny is clear from the numbers of the ruling party MPs in the Committee.
There is also an international standard of removing sensitive parts which may harm national security from the report before it is tabled in the legislature. The previous and current reluctance of the executive arms to open up on Defence and Security matters emanate from this very reason of preserving and protecting national security.
But national security should be balanced with public interest and other democratic principles. The decision to expunge certain information which may be prejudicial to national security should not be an arbitrary and exclusive decision of the executive but a collective decision of a well fairly balanced Committee in consultation with the Speaker and the minister responsible.
There is no doubt that the DIS has been a rogue institution. The reluctance by the President to commit to democratic-parliamentary oversight reforms presupposes a lack of commitment to democratization. The President has no interest in seeing a reformed DIS with effective oversight of the agency.
He is insincere. This is because the President loathes the idea losing an iota of power and sharing it with any other democratic institution. He sees the agency as his power lever to sustain his stay in the high office. He thought he could sanitize himself with an ineffective DIS Committee that would dance to his tune.
The non-participation of the opposition MPs renders the Committee dysfunctional; it cannot function as this would be unlawful. Participation of the opposition is a legal requirement. Even if it can meet, it would lack legitimacy; it cannot be taken seriously. The President should therefore act on the oversight demands and reform the DIS if he is to be taken seriously.
For years I have trained people about paradigm shifts – those light-bulb-switch-on moments – where there is a seismic change from the usual way of thinking about something to a newer, better way.
I like to refer to them as ‘aha’ moments because of the sudden understanding of something which was previously incomprehensible. However, the topic of today’s article is the complete antithesis of ‘aha’. Though I’d love to tell you I’d had a ‘eureka ‘, ‘problem solved’ moment, I am faced with the complete opposite – an ‘oh-no’ moment or Lost Leader Syndrome.
No matter how well prepared or capable a leader is. they often find themselves facing perplexing events, confounding information, or puzzling situations. Confused by developments of which they can’t make sense and by challenges that they don’t know how to solve they become confused, sometimes lost and completely clueless about what to do.
I am told by Jentz and Murphy (JM) in ‘What leaders do when they don’t know what to do’ that this is normal, and that rapid change is making confusion a defining feature of management in the 21st century. Now doesn’t that sound like the story of 2020 summed up in a single sentence?
The basic premise of their writing is that “confusion is not a weakness to be ashamed of but a regular and inevitable condition of leadership. By learning to embrace their confusion, managers are able to set in motion a constructive process for addressing baffling issues.
In fact, confusion turns out to be a fruitful environment in which the best managers thrive by using the instability around them to open up better lines of communication, test their old assumptions and values against changing realities, and develop more creative approaches to problem solving.”
The problem with this ideology however is that it doesn’t help my overwhelming feelings of fear and panic which is exacerbated by a tape playing on a loop in my head saying ‘you’re supposed to know what to do, do something’. My angst is compounded by annoying motivational phrases also unhelpfully playing in my head like.
Nothing happens until something moves
The secret of getting ahead is getting started
Act or be acted upon
All these platitudes are urging me to pull something out of the bag, but I know that this is a trap. This need to forge ahead is nothing but a coping mechanism and disguise. Instead of owning the fact that I haven’t got a foggy about what to do, part of me worries that I’ll lose authority if I acknowledge that I can’t provide direction – I’m supposed to know the answers, I’m the MD! This feeling of not being in control is common for managers in ‘oh no’ situations and as a result they often start reflexively and unilaterally attempting to impose quick fixes to restore equilibrium because, lets be honest, sometimes we find it hard to resist hiding our confusion.
To admit that I am lost in an “Oh, No!” moment opens the door not only to the fear of losing authority but also to a plethora of other troubling emotions and thoughts: *Shame and loss of face: “You’ll look like a fool!” * Panic and loss of control: “You’ve let this get out of hand!” * Incompetence and incapacitation: “You don’t know what you’re doing!”
As if by saying “I’m at a loss here” is tantamount to declaring “I am not fit to lead.” Of course the real problem for me and any other leader is if they don’t admit when they are disoriented, it sends a signal to others in the organisation stating it’s not cool to be lost and that, by its very nature encourages them to hide. What’s the saying about ‘a real man never asks for direction. ..so they end up driving around in circles’.
As managers we need to embrace the confusion, show vulnerability (remember that’s not a bad word) and accept that leadership is not about pretending to have all the answers but about having the courage to search with others to discover a solution.
JM point out that “being confused, however, does not mean being incapacitated. Indeed, one of the most liberating truths of leadership is that confusion is not quicksand from which to escape but rather the potter’s clay of leadership – the very stuff with which managers can work.”
2020 has certainly been a year to remember and all indications are that the confusion which has characterised this year will still follow us into the New Year, thereby making confusion a defining characteristic of the new normal and how managers need to manage. Our competence as leaders will then surely be measured not only by ‘what I know’ but increasingly by ‘how I behave when I accept, I don’t know, lose my sense of direction and become confused.
.I guess the message for all organizational cultures going forward is that sticking with the belief that we need all-knowing, omni-competent executives will cost them dearly and send a message to managers that it is better to hide their confusion than to address it openly and constructively.
Take comfort in these wise words ‘Confusion is a word we have invented for an order not yet understood’!