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Since last year – 2018, Botswana has witnessed rising impunity and lawlessness within the political arena which led to social media going into overdrive. Clearly what is happening in Botswana is very unfortunate, so many mind-boggling and bizarre things are happening within the country which demand a pause and reflection as the nation traverses the crossroads.
Political vigilantism and machismo have become a part of our body politic. We have become a nation whose citizens no longer care for one another and unfortunately such is now being fueled and spearheaded by none other the Bangwato King, Kgosi Kgolo Khama IV. He has now turned himself into an uncontrollable control freak, a tribal monk whose main agenda is to sow seed of discord as well as a desperate attempt to divide the nation. He is not behaving and conducting himself like a King – Mmabatho..
The Weekend post of the 13th May 2019 reported on some preliminary hit list announced by the former President Lt Gen Ian Khama, “The Political Hitman” s wish is to target those he will de-campaign. He has decided to tag Bangwato and BagaMmangwato along.
Poor Ian. !!!.
It is reported that the “The Political Hit Man” chooses or endorses people who he thinks will champion his agenda and can easily be controlled. He prefers to work with errand boys and girls.
O tshabe tlala.
Le bo “ Rangolo tota ba thuntseng di tlhogo le ditedu, “salt and pepper”, as well as le moruti (Pastor) tota have no shame to be participating actively in this political scam.
However, it must be stated that even if their lips have been sweetened with honey and that they have been bank rolled as it is alleged to stand as “Mekoko”, they will be severely bleksmed at the polls. These “Mekoko” have a sense of entitlement, a birth right to stand for elections in their different constituencies.
The political rally that was held in Serowe held on the 4th May 2019 and the one held yesterday addressed by King Khama IV are revealing. It showed and demonstrated an element of disrespect to the Botswana nation state. These meetings were held under false pretence, lies, arrogance, pomposity and deceit. The Watchdog reported that a lot of tribal breast-beating, tribal bigotry all of it mixed within unhidden tribal nostalgia went on at that meeting.
However, this does not come as a surprise; it has historical background as Molomo (2000) argued. The perception of Bangwato, when Ketumile Masire succeeded Khama after his death in 1980 was that he was only holding the fort for Khama's son, Ian Khama Seretse Khama, to enable him to develop a career in the army, grow up and eventually take over as President (Molomo, 2000).
A lot of ethnic bigotry and diatribe went on at the Serowe meetings. The meetings were not only reckless but rather out right shame. E ne e le kwa Mmapereko, go buiwa jo rata.
One Sam Digwa, said “ Bagaetsho ke batla go le raya ke re re mo pusong e e seng Masisi. Masisi ga a Masisi, o gataka mongwe le mongwe dinao, o bata go re twaela”.
Another elder said “Re le Bangwato re emetse phetolo ka boheho. Ga o ka diega re tla sia le Boko, a kere le ene ke mo Central”.
“Mme hela, Seretse o re bolaile ka go isa botlhale go buisa Kgatleng. O tsere lehura a le isa South”.
One social commentator responded by saying “Instead of pleading with their Kgosi to retire and plan an heir to his throne and their Kingdom, Bangwato chose to spew tribalistic nuances as of Presidency belongs to them”.
The BDP top echelons it is reported have given Ian Khama’s intensions of leaving the party thumbs up, after all he was just a liability.
Khama and Bangwato should be reminded that there are many Batswana who participated in the building of the Botswana Nation State when Sir Seretse Khama was in exile, enjoying the luxuries. These unsung heroes participated in the Bechualand Advisory Council which comprised of the following: Kgosi Molefi of Bakgatla ba Kgafela always accompanied by his right hand men, Bogatsu Pilane and the tribal prosecutor Mothi Abel Pilane (The elder brother to Mmathebe Lereirei Seleke (nee Pilane). Bakwena were represented by Kgosi Kgari Sechele, accompanied by Martinus Seboni and Sankoloba Matlhabaphiri, Batawana by Mohumagadi E P Moremi, accompanied by Montsho Mogalakwe and Tsheko Tsheko, Barolong by Kgosi Montshioa, accompanied by DS Molema, Bangwaketsi by Kgosi Bathoeng, accompanied by G.A.T Gare and R Kalabeng, Batlokwa represented by Kgosi Gaborone and Balete by Kgosi Mokgosi, Chobe, Kgalagadi and Ghanzi were also represented. (Bechuanaland Hansard, 3rd November 1955).
Others also participated and fought in the Second World War II, inter-alia, Kgosi Kgolo Molife ( Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela’s grandfather), Serero Seleke ( Mokgatla wa Kgafela from Tlagadi Ward, Mochudi, ), etc.
The Gazette News paper of the 2nd March 2011 carried a story showcasing how Seretse and Masire unilaterally adopted the constitution document without the consent of Batswana, opposition political parties and Dikgosi. According to the Gazette, Dikgosi were not party to the constitutional talks that were held in Marlborough House (UK) on the eve of independence on the 15th February 1966. The two parties, i.e. Dikgosi and Bechuanaland opposition parties had in September 1965, presented a proposal seeking for the postponement of constitutional discussions pending consultation with the British, Dikgosi and Botswana government with the mandate of taking Batswana’s views in oral and written form.
Extracts from the Bechuanaland opposition memorandum presented by Phillip Matante reads in part ‘The opposition in Bechuanaland Legislative Assembly is not at all opposed to the independence, as it will be recalled we demanded independency as early as 1961. This is when a fake document in the name of constitution was imposed upon the people of Bechuanaland without proper consultation. The British people deliberately endorsed that instrument and yet it was not acceptable to the people of Bechuanaland’.
For their part Dikgosi submitted that they were betrayed by Seretse and that the trust and confidence they had in him was misplaced. They believed that Seretse as a chief by tradition would enable him to understand the need for gradual transformation of their traditional ways. The Dikgosi explained that they wanted talks that would include all the interested parties and that the consensus reached would form the subject of the final constitution. However, despite all these submissions, Seretse Khama went ahead with the talks and ignored Dikgosi and opposition pleas (Ray Chamberlain – Government record keeper).
He abused them, conned them and used his educational qualifications, and Bangwato royalty to manipulate them. The Chiefs acted in good faith in dealing with him and they thought he was one of them and that he was with them. It was a relationship based on goodwill; they were however, fooled and hoodwinked. Khama’s project was beyond, with a primary motive of establishing and building an empire for himself. Khama was hungry for power and he had in him some dictatorial tendencies. He saw himself as someone above the chiefs and his main mission was to establish a pseudo feudal state (if you like). His foot prints can be seen even in his son Ian.
In 1970, Kgosi Neale Sechele was compelled to resign as Chief of the Bakwena following a two-man commission appointed by President Sir Seretse Khama to look into alleged negligence of duty and abuse of alcohol leveled against the Kgosi. In 1973, Kgosi Seepapitso IV was suspended for one year because he was purported to have on several occasions behaved in a manner deemed unbecoming for a Kgosi and was perceived as a poor performer in the execution of his chieftaincy functions. In 1977, Sir Seretse Khama’s administration dismissed Kgosi Besele II of Barolong for dereliction of duty. Earlier in 1969, Kgosi Bathoen II of Bangwaketse was compelled by law to quit Bogosi in order to pursue a political career on an opposition Botswana National Front (BNF) ticket. The poor Kgosi Bathoen had to trade in his leopard skin for politics. Kgosi Tawana Moremi of Batawana suffered the same fate, as he had to live his father’s Kgotla to join politics. However in sharp contrast to this image, Sir Seretse Khama in 1979, appointed his son Ian Khama (then a Brigadier in the army), Kgosi of the Bangwato tribal while still serving in the army. By so doing Sir Seretse Khama set up a very bad precedent that inculcated a sense of entitlement and prestige to the young brigadier. The ceremony took place at the Bangwato’s main kgotla in Serowe, the government owned Kutlwano magazine of this period has a photo of Ian Khama clad in military tunic bringing firewood to the kgotla.
It must be noted that Seretse Khama installed Ian Khama as Kgosi of the Bangwato despite an undertaking by Seretse and his uncle, Tshekedi, made in the mid-1950s that they were abdicating chieftaincy of the Bangwato for themselves and their children.