The stand off between government and Bakgatla paramount Chief Kgafela Kgafela reached greater heights yesterday when government moved swiftly to derecognize him as kgosi.
In an extraordinary publication of the government gazette- Vol XLIX, No 60-, dated September 27th, Minister of Local Government, Lebonaamang Mokalake, announced his withdrawal of the recognition of Kgafela II as kgosi of Bakgatla.
“This is in pursuance of the provisions of section 15(b) of the Bogosi Act,” said Mokalake.
The relationship between Kgafela II and government soured after Kgafela II, his brother Mmusi, Deputy Chief Bana Sekai and Bakgatla tribesmen were dragged to court to answer to charges relating unlawful floggings in Mochudi.
They were later incarcerated for 14 days after failing to turn up in court and violating their bail conditions. Kgafela II later issued a moratorium against government sponsored kgotla meetings in Kgatleng, saying he would only allow them after government accedes to his requests for dialogue.
On Monday, cabinet ministers Peter Siele and Lebonaamang Mokalake left Kgatleng huffing and puffing after they were jeered by Bakgatla regiments who refused to allow them to hold a Kgotla meeting in Mochudi. Kgafela II has also launched an application in which he challenges the legitimacy of Botswana’s constitution, saying it was not enacted after proper consultation with Batswana.
Pundits have opined that the latest action by government will worsen relations between Bakgatla and government, as Bakgatla will never endorse Mokalake’s actions. Mokalake confirmed the de-recognition order, but refused to shed more light on the matter. The state media is expected to announce the decision before the end of today.