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Why Dikgosi abandon Bogosi for politics

Ndulamo Anthony Morima



Following the untimely death of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tlokweng, Honourable Same Bathobakae, political parties are already considering the possible candidates to field for the imminent bye election.


This is not because the political parties are insensitive, but because they want to have a head start over the other political parties. Though they cannot say it publicly, they want to leverage from the grief. As true politicians they even claim that this is what the late Bathobakae would have wanted.    


According to Sunday Standard’s online edition of 8th December 2016, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has commenced talks with Batlokwa Kgosi, Kgosi Puso Gaborone, who currently serves as the Chairman of Ntlo ya Dikgosi.


According to the report, when contacted for comment, Kgosi Gaborone said “… I am not in a position to respond to allegations…What I can tell you is that I’m happy with my position as a Kgosi.”


Whether Kgosi Gaborone has indeed been approached by the BDP remains conjecture. The same applies to whether or not he will accept the offer if made to him. What is not conjecture is the fact that since independence Bogosi has lost Dikgosi to politics.


It may not only be the BDP that has approached Kgosi Gaborone. It is possible, even probable, that the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) too is, directly or through one of its affiliates, or the Botswana Congress Party (BCC), courting Kgosi Gaborone.


Therefore, trying to give the impression that the BDP is doing something wrong by approaching Kgosi Gaborone, if it did, is disingenuous to say the list. History shows that the opposition has benefited more from Dikgosi who abandoned Bogosi for politics.      


Among Dikgosi who dumped the leopard’s skin to join politics are Kgosi Bathoen II of BaNgwaketse, Kgosi Lotlamoreng II of Barolong and Kgosi Tawana Moremi of Batawana who joined the Botswana National Front (BNF) and BDP respectively.


Bogosi, especially of the so-called major tribes, is supposed to be a prestigious title which one would not easily abdicate for an undertaking as risky as politics. The question is: why do some Dikgosi abdicate Bogosi, a birth right and lifelong calling, to join politics?


Firstly, some people, including Dikgosi themselves, have argued that since independence Bogosi’s powers have been usurped by the government. These people argue that today’s Dikgosi are mere ceremonial figure heads. Some even claim that a Councillor has more powers than a Kgosi.


One example that is often given to demonstrate that the central government usurped Dikgosi’s powers is the land administration function which was transferred to land boards.  It is anomalous, these people argue, for a Kgosi not to play a decisive role in the allocation of the land under his control.


Secondly, it has been argued that though our constitution provides for Ntlo ya Dikgosi, which is theoretically the second chamber of the National Assembly, Ntlo ya Dikgosi has no teeth since it merely plays an advisory role to Parliament on customary or traditional matters.


It would be recalled that Kgosi Kgafela II of Bakgatla declined to take up his seat in Ntlo ya Dikgosi, stating, among others, that it is a toothless talk shop since members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi are civil servants whose ability to represent their tribes without fear is compromised by the fact that they are accountable to government.


Thirdly, it has been contended that the privileges accorded to Dikgosi are not in consonance with their esteemed positions. For instance, while MPs enjoy Parliamentary privilege, i.e. legal immunity granting them protection against civil or criminal liability for actions done or statements made in the course of their legislative duties, Dikgosi have no such privilege.


Fourthly, it has been argued that the remuneration and benefits for Dikgosi are not as lucrative as those accorded to MPs and Councillors. While MPs and Councillors have good salaries, allowances and such lucrative schemes as vehicle and terminal benefits schemes, Dikgosi do not enjoy such.


Consequently, MPs and Councillors generally enjoy a higher standing in the socio-economic strata compared to Dikgosi. This socio-economic capital further enables these politicians to qualify for credit and guarantee facilities with financial institutions, further enhancing their status in the community.


Fifth, Bogosi is a career, if it is indeed a career, with almost no prospects for growth. On the contrary, politicians, especially if they align themselves with the ‘proper’ factions within the party, can progress and end up as cabinet ministers or diplomats.


Seventh, especially for youthful Dikgosi, Bogosi is not a challenging career. Its duties are mundane and the work environment can be boring since their offices often have poor facilities and lack such of today’s necessities as internet connection.


Some have claimed that even the personnel employed at the Kgotla is not of the caliber that would motivate a youthful Kgosi to remain at the Kgotla. A youthful Kgosi, therefore, quickly finds him or herself out of place.      


Though it is possible that some Dikgosi left and will leave Bogosi not because of the aforesaid reasons, but because of their sheer love of politics, it is incontrovertible that some have been and will be influenced by the aforesaid reasons.


Therefore, to retain Dikgosi and to maintain Bogosi’s strength and dignity as an institution government has to empower Dikgosi; improve Dikgosi’s terms and conditions of service; and improve Dikgosi’s working conditions.


If Dikgosi were held with the high regard they deserve, there would be no reason for a paramount chief, for example, who has lifelong security of tenure, to abandon his or her secure and less stressful position to join the risky job that is politics.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”


Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”


Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.


Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)


Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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