The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is allegedly courting the Chairman of Ntlo ya Dikgosi and Batlokwa Kgosikgolo Puso Gaborone to join the race for the looming Tlokweng by election.
The constituency fell vacant following the death of opposition Botswana National Front (BNF) Member of Parliament, Same Bathobakae.
The Telegraph is reliably informed that the BDP leadership and a senior official from one of the security agencies have approached Kgosi Gaborone requesting that he should stand under the BDP ticket.
At the time of going to press it was not clear how Kgosi Gaborone had reacted to the proposal.
Contacted for comment on Monday, Kgosi Puso Gaborone said “I’m not in a position to respond to allegations.”
Pressed to provide more details, he added, “I said before I’m not going to respond to allegations. What I can tell you is that I’m happy with my position as a Kgosi.”
The deputy secretary general of the BDP who is also the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi said he was not aware of any talks with Kgosi Gaborone.
But sources insisted on Monday that it could be easy to convince the Batlokwa tribal leader to trade his leopard skin for politics as he has a cozy relationship with President Ian Khama. There are even claims that their relationship has helped to calm down Batlokwa who want portions of Ruretse Farms currently owned by the Khama family.
Sources also claim that the BDP recruited former Botswana National Front (BNF) Olebile Gaborone to divert Batlokwa’s attention from focusing on retaining the land they believe rightfully belongs to the tribe.
“Olebile Gaborone was very vocal at the time on issues affecting Batlokwa especially our bid to retain our land which forms part of Ruretse. We are still hurt because we believe he betrayed what we stood for as a tribe and that is why we did not vote for him under the BDP ticket,” said a source. Prior to his defection to the BDP, Olebile Gaborone exhibited an unusually cozy relationship with President Khama. Sources say that they are not surprised that Kgosi Puso Gaborone has been approached to represent the BDP adding that he “could be following in the footsteps of Olebile Gaborone,” a close relative and senior royal at Tlokweng.
To buttress a close relationship between Khama and Gaborone, they cite among other things the presence of the President at Kgosi Gaborone’s recent wedding.
In the build up to the 2014 elections, Khama recalled the then BDP candidate Elijah Katse so that he could pave way for Olebile Gaborone.
Trumped up charges were leveled against Katse, who was accused of interfering with the electoral process. After he was trounced by Bathobakae, Olebile Gaborone was appointed coordinator of poverty eradication programme.
He later got a position as Botswana’s Amabassador to Mozambique.
“Prior to that Olebile Gaborone was vocal in advocating for issues that affected the tribe especially our land that forms part of Ruretse,” sources reiterated.
The Telegraph’s sister publication the Sunday Standard had earlier reported that Batlokwa were considering suing President Khama and his family in a bid to recover Ruretse Farms currently owned by the Khama family.
At the time Sunday Standard reported that the tribe was planning to engage Tshiamo Rantao of Rantao Kewagamang attorneys to pursue their land claim. Batlokwa argue that they have the title deed of Ruretse farms and that the farms should revert back to the tribe. Batlokwa have mandated Batlokwa Trust chaired by Elijah Katse to look for assets belonging to the tribe and register them under the Trust. Ruretse farms, Glen Valley and Kgale Views lands form part of assets inventory that the tribe wants back.
A source within Batlokwa royal family told The Telegraph that Ruretse farms are some of Batlokwa’s assets that the tribe is seeking to bring under the control of Batlokwa Trust. Katse as chairman of the Batlokwa Trust was expected to fight the issue in parliament when elected as Member of Parliament for Tlokweng.
In the 2014 general elections, under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) ticket, Bathobakae trounced Gaborone to win Tlokweng as she polled 6442 against her rival’s 3867 while a BCP managed 1195.