The false promise of meritocracy: The case of “The Bangwato King”

25 Mar 2019

Advocate Sydney Tshepiso Pilane once said “We have a monumental ego for President” (see Sunday Standard May 29 2011). Revisiting Pilane’s opinion piece, one can easily conclude that we now have a monumental ego for an ex-president. Some social media commentators recently stated the Bangwato Kgosi Kgolo is in a state of madness ,  hallucination and possibly could be high on something much more toxic than what his administration accused the Bakgatla ba Kgafela Kgosi Kgolo to have been high on (Matekwane).

Unfortunately it appears like those close to him, including, Granny VM and Nomvhete’s look alike Samson Moyo Guma cannot come to his rescue. From the latest media reports soon Moyo Guma will have his day in court. The Gazette newspaper recently reported how Moyo Guma and CEDA bled millions. It also reported that he has been slapped with a notice of tax assessment and a P33 Million tax bill and P4 Million wage bill. Not being able to stand the heat he decided to take cover by running to Serowe and joined Kgosi Kgolo Ian Khama, Granny VM and one Roselyn from Tlokweng, attending what in his Watchdog column Spencer Mogapi said looked and sounded like a summons from the royal court, disguised as Serowe BDP elders meeting.

Moyo Guma was seated at the top table, laughing un-controllably and showering the confused and un-stable King with endless praises. .

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 ahistorical background as Molomo (2000) argued. According to Molomo, when Seretse entered party politics and formed the BDP, the move was widely acclaimed by Bangwato as politically correct because it would allow him not only to rule them but the entire nation of Botswana.  The perception of Bangwato, when 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).

Such unfortunate beliefs exist among some section of Bangwato. Some of them are still stuck in the past, as is the case with their confused King and Granny. For now the dynasty is fighting for relevance - a painstaking undertaking fought using all unconventional means, including using Granny VM as a pawn. Unfortunately their King has been hit hard, ever since his blue-eyed boy ´Spanere’s  fell under the government radar.

He has not been in the right faculty of mind. The situation is also not helped by his monumental ego. Although he pretends not to want to rule from the grave, his actions speak to the contrary. Off late he has not been acting and behaving normal. He is in an uncontrollable state. Panick-stricken  is the right word.

Sunday Standard news paper of the 18th March 2019 reported that in the next court appearance in the NPF case, Isaac Kgosi’s will be in court and to follow in the witness box will be none other than the King of Bangwato.

His recent interview with the SABC, the Bangwato King’s utterances were embarrassing. He was economical with the truth. This is what he said …

“What I’m seeing now is a totally different person than the one I knew. I think he has it in him, even if it was an act, please could he bring back that act again so that the country can move forward and enjoy the reputation it has always had,”

He decried of not being treated nice by the Masisi regime. It is mind blowing that this has unexpectedly upset him  simply because President Masisi is determined to fight the corruption tsunami that swept across Botswana during his reign. He chose South Africa to go and speak evil and diatribe about President Masisi. He even showered himself with imaginary praises of having been the best and that his legacy was being eroded, warning that “we just can’t allow that to happen, by any means.”

I MEAN REALLY!!! Does he even have any legacy? In township lingo they call this “go phapha”.

The Bangwato King is leaving in the world of fantasy. Even in his backyard, the capital village of Bangwato, Serowe, a Specially nominated councilor in the Central District Council, Tsotso Segona recently was close to telling him off  (see Botswana Guardian 22nd March 2019). Tsotso did not behave and conduct himself like Moyo Guma, Roselyn, and Pswee Rapitsanyane.  Tsotso cautioned Khama that the majority of the democrats and Batswana in general are happy with Masisi as he is the man all out to bring changes which benefit the nation.

Not so long ago, the Bangwato King joined Granny’s VM campaign team in Francistown and Mahalapye to solicit support for Granny. Those who advised granny to use the King as her chief campaign strategist ill advised her. She made the wrong move. However, with her it has always been known that she is not standing for Presidency but rather against Presidency. Social media commentators have even gone further to describe her as a selfish self centered egomaniac. They said 

“Though she claims to want to represent women , Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has never uplifted any woman or young person during her glamorous political life as detailed by the likes of Unity Dow, Sheila Tlou and Shirley Segokgo. When Ruth Maphorisa was promoted as PS to the Ministry of Education Venson- Moitoi refused working with her and since she had the Former President Ian Khama’s ear, Maphorisa was swiftly moved to MYSC to serve under Kgathi.”
“Venson-Moitoi has never had a female Private Secretary as Minister so there’s no single woman she can claim to have mentored or uplifted.”

She says she always differed with Khama, “ask her to tell us what she said or did when Khama fired very educated women from cabinet in Prof Sheila Tlou, Moggi Mbaakanyi and Lesego Motsumi.”

“Possibly there are more women who can come out and share their experiences and sufferings they had to endure during Ian Khama’s reign. Since Granny had the ear of the President what did she do when the many women Ambassadors were recalled?” One social media commentator stated.

Another one chipped in and said, “sa ga Khosi Kholo was all about bringing an entourage of soldiers to the Office of the President, and their display of arrogance.” In fact DCEC, DIS and BURS must investigate all those soldiers he brought with from BDF to Office of the President. Even those former privates who left the BDF to be involved in security sector and construction must be thoroughly investigated.

In his interview with SABC, Khama played victim and what was to follow with the staged drama ya bo Guma, Granny and some Roselyn was very shocking.  In his interview with SABC he claimed that he is a humanist. To him sitting around night vigils with the poor rural folks distributing blankets, dishing soup and fat cakes solicited from the Indian and Chinese business men is humanity. He also thinks dancing Polka at the annual polka dance in Tsabong is humanity.

Khama displayed the same monumental ego in his interview with Donald Seberane of Duma FM in October 2010. He behaved un-Presidentially, castigated and ridiculed the Bakgatla ba Kgafela King.  In that interview he stated that, “Two Bulls cannot be in the same Kraal” referring to himself and King Kgafela Kgafela. Now chickens have come to home roost.

What was to follow after his interview with Duma FM was a shocking judgment passed by the then Regional Magistrate Barnabas Nyamadzabo based on a newspaper article. The Bakgatla ba Kgafela King was made to walk through a political tight rope.  The pre-fectoral order, persecution and the incarceration of Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela Kgafela II as well as his subsequent fleeing from the country succinctly depicts the nature of the confrontation. The main concern was all about political power and space. From a position of strength, the state bulldozed itself to the extent of former President Ian Khama holding a night vigil meeting at the Bakgatla ba Kgafela kgotla without the knowledge and consent of Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela Kgafela II, who then had fled the country and was and still is on self imposed exile in South Africa. His brothers Morena Bakgatla, Morena Mmusi as well as some royal uncles had to watch helplessly as Khama showed his political muscle by invading the Bakgatla ba Kgafela Kgotla to hold a night vigil.

In Tswana culture and custom a Kgotla is a sacred place – “Lekgotla le a thaiwa” and is of  no surprise for Ian to be in this state of mind, “E kare motho a koma ditlhare”. Ke go ralala makgotla a merafe e mengwe.

O tlhokana fela le bo Seforabatho, fa e se gone go siela kwa go his holiness Dalai Lama.