Saturday, July 20, 2024

Chieftaincy in a Modern State (Part II)

As a follow up to my article of last week, I express the view that the people of Botswana have allowed our elected leaders for too long to forsake our Dikgosi.

My view is that if we continue to forsake our Dikgosi, as we have been led to do by our elected leaders. God will forsake us with a dark cloud of ignorance that will allow even the weakest of threats to our survival to consume us into extinction or total destruction like Sodom and Gomorrah. Where will the same elected leaders of today be when this apocalypse occurs seven years from today? Where will Dikgosi be?

Dikgosi will be in the same seats they occupied during their resistance to colonialism. Those familiar with scripture may recall this quotation from Timothy: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

The shield of protection which a Kgosi yields upon his coronation symbolises ultimate protection of his people with knowledge, and unity of action arising from such knowledge, as the greatest weapon against modern day threats to national security.

Our colonial masters knew this too well. That is why the British have retained their Bogosi where it belongs. We emulate the culture of our colonial master without adopting the most fundamental parts of it, Bogosi, whilst masquerading a false image that republicanism and modernity necessarily exclude Bogosi.

We marvel with irritating excitement upon observing other nations revering their Dikgosi (British, Zulu, Swazi, Bafokeng etc) when we have our own Dikgosi sitting next to us. When the Prince and Princesses of other nations visit Botswana, we hide our Dikgosi in the backrooms of Government and in their place we parade elected leaders as our Royal hospitality representatives.

When the same Royal visits ten years later we parade a different elected leader often, like the first one, without any culture or etiquette on matters of Royalty. Rather than treating our Dikgosi with reverence, we laugh and cheer over beer and whisky bottles when ignorant elected leaders and their agents in government ridicule and treat our Dikgosi with unforgettable contempt.
The same Nations (British, Zulu, Swazi, Bafokeng etc) quietly laugh at our hypocrisy and patiently watch as the holier than thou nation rapidly falls.

The ever humble Zimbabweans, who we ignorantly down class, silently giggle in amazement when our leadership and so-called elite class of this country cannot even speak Setswana properly or at all.
We are always ready to point a finger at other countries’ problems instead of solving our own (Uncle Bob next door is accused of stealing white farmers land, what a grotesque confusion.) How did the white famers acquire the fertile land they are farming in? Shouldn’t it be the white farmers that should be paying our poor brothers in Zimbabwe for using their land for so many years for almost free of charge? That is what we should be asking before criticizing Uncle Bob.

It is time for us Batswana to define our true selves and stop living the lie we see every day. It is time now for every Motswana to take responsibility for the future of this country instead of leaving it to the elected leaders who have evidently failed this nation.

It is time for us to defend our Dikgosi so that they can protect us from modern day challenges facing our society. We live with our Dikgosi on a daily basis and have the forum of the Kgotla where we can advise them of our wishes on a continuous basis. Our Dikgosi act upon our advice at the Kgotla.

Elected leaders make decisions at Cabinet in the privacy of their air-conditioned conference rooms without any participation of us the people.

Even parliament has no control over such decisions. Their decisions do not reflect the way of life of us Batswana. The English language is spoken when the decisions are made. The decisions are subsequently written in English and are communicated to the rest of us Batswana in the same English language of our former colonial master.

They are not decisions by and for Batswana but are decisions by those who make them for themselves and those whose interests they serve (club members only).

Unless we truly empower our Dikgosi to serve their purpose, this situation is not going to change through changing the face of elected leaders. The next ones to form government will do the same and it will go on and on. Remember that “a nation without a culture is a nation without a future”.


Read this week's paper