Saturday, November 26, 2022

Gov’t rejects villagers’ request to name police station after Tshekedi Khama

The Minister of Defence Justice and Security Ramadeluka Seretse has rejected a request by Palapye residents to name the newly built police station after Tshekedi Khama. Palapye residents had sent a delegation to minister Seretse requesting that the police station be named Tshekedi Khama, but were told that all police stations are to take the names of their geographic locations.

The Acting Chief Representative Kgosi Masego Olebile of Palapye confirmed that their request was rejected and were told that the police station will instead be named Palapye Police Station.

He said the villagers who are mostly Bangwato wanted the police station to be in honour of one of the greatest colonial era leaders in Africa Kgosi Tshekedi Khama who is remembered a history of good leadership. Tshekedi Khama who is the grand uncle to both President Lt Gen Ian Khama and minister Seretse, is remembered for his spirited opposition to the marriage between founding president Sir Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams, a white woman.

Seretse nevertheless went ahead with the marriage and returned from London to Serowe to face his disapproving uncle and the rest of the family. Initially, and with the support of traditionalists, Tshekedi, a forceful and persuasive speaker, managed to maintain the upper hand. It was not until a third kgotla, held during the week of Monday 20 June 1949 that events began to move against Tshekedi.

The latter, who had been busy protecting his own cattle interests and tribute, rapidly lost the support of the kgotla when others successfully alleged that he wished to keep the chieftainship for himself. By the will of the kgotla, the democratically inclined Seretse was acclaimed kgosi (or paramount chief). Tshekedi prudently removed himself and his followers from Gammangwato to Rametsana, in the Kweneng, where his own father had gone into temporary exile.

Because he did not accept the legality of the acclamation, he launched an official dispute. He was not reconciled with Seretse until the middle of 1956 when he took the initiative to go to London to secure Seretse’s return. Tshekedi realized that Seretse’s authority was needed if the possibility of a beneficial agreement between a mining company and the Ngwato, who owned the mineral rights, were ever to become a reality. On 15 August they were able to make a joint statement to Alec Douglas-Home, the secretary of state for Commonwealth affairs, in which Seretse renounced the chieftaincy. The family dispute was closed, and on 10 October Seretse Khama returned from exile.

Kgosi Olebile says he does not understand why their request to name the police station after
Tshekedi Khama was rejected but explained that a delegation was sent to Gaborone to relay the villagers’ request. “Unfortunately the delegation was rejected therefore we have now accepted that our effort have not succeeded” he said.

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