The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is reported to have prevailed over Bangwaketse Kgosikgolo Malope to postpone to a date after the general elections, a kgotlameeting called to discuss recent insults hurled at Kgosi Tawana Moremi by Alec Seametso, a Mongwaketse BDP activist in Maun last week The meeting was aimed at imploring Bangwaketse to formally apologise to Kgosi Tawana Moremi and Batawana.
The agenda of the meeting that was to be held in Kanye on Saturday October 18th was to find a way to deliver an appropriate apology to Kgosi Tawana Moremi of Batawana. The meeting was called after Kgosi Malope met with his uncles and his advisors to find a way to avert a potential conflict between Batawana and Bangwaketsi.
Seametso is the Campaign manager of the ruling BDP. However, Sunday Standard learnt on Friday that the meeting was called off after a delegation from the BDP descended on the royal residence on Thursday and convinced Malope to postpone the meeting. The ruling party was worried that the meeting would adversely affect their chances in the forthcoming general elections.
Kgosi Malope insists that he is not interested in the politics surrounding the matter, but that his concern is that what was said by one of his tribesmen has a potential to drive a wedge between Batawana and Bangwaketsi.
In statements heavily laced with Ngwaketse dialects Seametso repeatedly reminded his audience that he was a Mongwaketsi from the Ngwaketsi main Kgotla.
He blamed Batawana for what he said was Kgosi Moremi’s ill-mannered upbringing. He said when the late Kgosi Bathoen of Bagwaketsi tried to behave the same way like Tawana is currently doing, he [Seametso] and his other tribesmen showed Bathoen his place.
He called on Batawana to take a cue from Bangwaketse tribesmen who cut Kgosi Bathoen down to size and do the same to Tawana.
Seametso’s reference to the late Kgosi Bathoen is also said to have irked quite a few Bangwaketsi elder statesmen.
They think Seametso insulted not only Tawana but also Kgosi Bathoen which has led to a further suggestion that Seametso’s father and his uncles should be present at the Saturday meeting.
Information collected by this newspaper indicates that Seametso was born in 1982.
Bathoen retired from politics in 1985 which if arithmetic is correct would mean that Seametso was only three years old at the time, making him too young at the time to have meaningfully interacted with the legendary Ngwaketsi leader at a political level. Bathoen died in 1990 by which time Seametso would have been eight years old ÔÇô still too young for the lad to have sufficiently known Bathoen.
In Maun attempts by Batawana and the Matsaakgang regiment to convince the tribal leadership to call an urgent Kgotla meeting to discuss the issue failed. At a meeting on Tuesday evening, the group tried in vain to drag the tribal leadership into discussing the following insults hurled at Tawana during last week’s BDP political rally. The initial purpose of the meeting was to discuss Tawana’s 45th birthday scheduled for Saturday 18th.
But as expected, its focus was deliberately derailed by some people who seemed eager to know what the leadership intended to do following the denigration of Tawana. They said what was said at the BDP rally was defamation of character, and that the words uttered at the said meeting were made in bad faith and with an intention to bring down then reputation of the kgosi. One village elder Senwelo Modisaemang requested that the issue be attended to urgently and before the general elections next week, as it threatens to de-campaign their chief. He said ever since news surfaced that Tawana had been insulted, he has not been able to sleep.
“We don’t want to be seen to be undermining the authority of the bogosi but we feel they have distanced themselves from this issue. While we know they work under strict instructions and have orders to follow, we also plead that they take note of our concerns. This issue cannot be avoided, and we want action to be taken in due time”, said Tawana’s right hand man, Douglas Mokenane. The meeting also wanted to find out if Tawana’s son, heir apparent Oatile Moremi will be available at his father’s birthday party. They suggested he be brought in so he could acquaint himself with Batawana traditions.
Nevertheless, a member of the Matsaakgang regiment pleaded with his associates to calm down as it has become apparent that they already have sympathy votes. He said they should not in any way be controlled by emotions, but instead be stronger than ever and do the best under the circumstances. Kgosi Oleyo Ledimo told the gathering that it was after the many requests to convene a meeting at the kgotla that the leadership sought advice from all fronts. He said they consulted three independent lawyers over the matter, and all recommended that Tawana should in his own capacity launch a case or look at any other avenues of responding to the insults as they were directed at him and not the morafe.
“They also opined that the use of the kgotla for such a meeting would not be appropriate as it is not the right platform. What you need to know is we are equally concerned, but reality is at the moment we don’t have a clear answer on what to expect next. It is also worth noting that it is not all Batawana who have been disturbed by the attacks on their chief. Some of them are BDP members, and should we convene the meeting here, there might be unexpected chaos and unnecessary exchange of words which we are trying hard to avoid”, said Ledimo.
His sentiments were echoed by Batawana Senior Chief Representative Charles Letsholathebe who said Batawana should look at the bigger picture because failure to do that might even turn the birthday party into a political clash. For a very long time now, Batawana have not celebrated their chief’s birthday, something which was seen by many as a campaign strategy. Batawana were only informed of the planned party on Wednesday morning at a kgotla meeting, where they were also asked to pledge whatever they had to make it a success.
Being a tribe known for their wealth in cattle, many pledged cattle and money, even though they complained that they were taken by surprise and informed very late. Interestingly, some people in Tawana’s birthday party organizing committee are staunch BDP members “We might be from different party affiliates, but at the end of the day I am a tribesman and so I am expected to execute my duties as such. Yes we might differ in political opinion, which is normal. People should learn to differentiate the two. Fact is I belong to the same regiment as Tawana, and he will always be my chief, regardless”, said one BDP sympathizer.