Friday, September 18, 2020

Headmen urge Kgosi Sekai to respect  Bogosi Act

The Oxford Dictionary describes the word “nepotism” as the giving of special favour, especially employment by a person in high position to his relatives. This phenomenon appears to be playing itself in the Kgatleng District raising eyebrows on the already divided district headmen. On the move is the impending appointment of Radikolo Kgamanyane named after Deputy Kgosi Sekai Linchwe’s grandfather, Jabavu Rammala who has been the acting headman of Morema ward since around 2003 and is also a controversial figure. The other appointment is that of Kitso Pilane who is currently headman for Makakatlela. However, his is not questionable as his ward is the most senior and he is not aligned to any one of the factions.

Radikolo Kgamanyane is earmarked for Olifants Drift where the incumbent, a Mr. Sekobowane is nearing retirement age while Rammala is being promoted to feel a vacancy at the main kgotla in Mochudi.Sekai Linchwe broke the news to this effect at a meeting of senior headmen and chief representatives held at Linchwe II Community Junior Secondary School on August 18. Several headmen except Sekai’s henchmen went to that meeting clueless about the issues for discussions.  But luckily, one of them went there armed with the Bogosi Act and was able to draw Sekai’s attention to relevant sections which were in conflict with his plans especially the Olifants Drift appointment. My sources say the headman drew Sekai’s attention to the fact that the community at Olifants Drift must be given the chance to choose among themselves who should lead them instead of somebody from Mochudi being imposed on them. It was pointed out to Sekai that he could bring his appointee only if the community had failed to designate one from among them. However, it appears Sekai had already made up his mind that nothing under the sun would stop the appointment of his preferred candidates.People may need to know who this Radikolo Kgamanyana is?

Nothing much is known about him except that he was one of the regiments and factional leaders who mobilized people against government in the years when a group consisting mainly Managana regiment demanded that Sekai be employed as deputy kgosi after government had turned down his application for contractual employment. He is not a resident of Olifants Drift and it is likely that in all his life. he has never been to that area which is about 100 kilometres east of Mochudi. He is probably unknown to everybody in the village. He does not even know the culture of the people in that village. Appointments such as his were good in pre-independent Botswana perhaps because it was thought that wisdom was the monopoly of people of royal blood no matter how silly they were.History shows that Sekai’s father at some stage in the past was posted there as headman but was removed because the community complained to Mochudi that he was ruling them in a tyrannical fashion. This was either shortly before or after the country attained independence. This means they have enjoyed self-rule for more than two score years ago. It is therefore ironic that after ruling themselves for such a long time, that right should now be reversed by a stroke of a pen. What is now happening is that instead of promoting and sticking to the government’s policy of decentralization, Mochudi is now centralizing power. This is contrary to the spirit of the Bogosi Act which gives the tribe power to designate a successor.

It states, “where there is a vacancy in the Bogosi of a tribe, either by reason of death, deposition, abdication or retirement, it shall be the duty of the tribe assembled in the kgotla under the chairmanship of the senior member of the tribe to designate the successor to the Bogosi according to customary law, or according to the established norm and practice of that tribe”.  No such a meeting has ever been held at Olifants Drift to give the community a chance to designate a person of their choice as their leader. It doesn’t even appear that there will be a change of heart on the part of decision-makers to give the community do what the law requires them to do. The law is very clear. It does not convey powers to designate a successor to any individual even if the individual concerned is a PHD holder or a Form two drop-out.  The issue surrounding the promotion of Jabavu Rammala is also controversial and is not new. It dates back to April 2018 when the tribal leadership attempted to impose a leader on the people of Morema Ward in Mochudi but were met with resistance. That attempt resulted with a senior member of the ward writing first to Kgosi Sekai asking him not to go ahead with his intention until consultations with residents had been properly done. Sekai snubbed him. When it became clear to him that Sekai would not listen to him, he wrote to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development asking for their intervention.

Part of the letter to government stated that since tribal leadership appeared determined to proceed with the process of appointment of headman for that ward,  while the incumbent was being elevated , “we kindly request that your office advise our tribal leadership to acknowledge our existence and engage us first”. Since then, there have been no developments and people have been thinking that the matter has been shelved.Since the departure of Mainolwe Komane and Seikanelo Pone from the kgotla a few years ago, backlog of cases multiplied to an alarming rate because of shortage of court presidents. Segale Linchwe and Modise Pilane were the only effective remaining court presidents. The third was a spent force who could not preside over criminal cases while Kgosi Sekai only seemed to have assumed the role of an arbitrator. The situation as it stands today at the main kgotla does not require quantity to deal with. It requires quality. Somebody somewhere should assist Kgosi Sekai to identify suitable candidates in terms of ability and not in terms relationship.  What informs Kgosi Sekai’s appointment of Radikolo Kgamanyane and Jabavu Rammala is unclear. It may never be disclosed. However, what is of common knowledge is that they are Kgosi Sekai’s henchmen.

A few years ago, when Sekai failed to secure a contract employment from government after he retired due to old age, the two men rallied behind Sekai demanding that he be employed.Radikolo was the leader of the faction of Mangana regiment which was very hostile to the leadership of Kgosi Segale. He also led a group of regiment to Moruleng for a showdown with Kgosi Kgafela II’s uncle, Ramono Linchwe on protocol matters. They demanded that Sekai who is too junior should take precedence over Kgosi Mothibe Linchwe at every gathering where both were present. They came back disappointed because Ramono gave them a hostile reception telling them that their demands were ill-advised. He informed them that Sekai was too junior even to him. It is now pay- back- time. Unfortunately pay-back-time is at the expense of the public service. One can only hope that the newly appointed Director General in the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime, Tymon Katlholo will be interested in these appointments. He is not new to this task. He has been there before and he excelled. Before then he was a crack detective.

We know each other. Congratulations Tymon. Meanwhile there is a vacancy within the Ba-Rakgamanyana Ward since the death of Mokgosi Pilane last year. It too must be filled. It was probably one of the issues for discussions at an aborted meeting called by Sekai on Tuesday. This is a ward whose inhabitants are of royal blood. It was clear right from the start that the meeting was going to fail as most of the people invited indicated that they were going to boycott it because it started on a wrong footing. It is understood that they were invited to the meeting by the “most junior individual whom they were not even sure if indeed he is a bona fide member of the royal clique”. If the subject of that meeting was to fill the vacancy in that ward, then one may ask why were women excluded from such consultations? 

Botswana Constitution prohibits all forms of discrimination including that of gender. Not only that. Even before the birth of the Botswana Constitution, The late Kgosi Linchwe II had already abolished customary law that prevented women from attending kgotla meetings soon after becoming Kgosi. Not only that. He had already empowered women to also participate in the discussions at the kgotla. He was seen by many as being progressive. What is happening now is retrogressive and should not be tolerated by right thinking Batswana. The late Mokgosi Pilane was chosen as the rightful leader of that ward by both men and women at a meeting attended and chaired by Kgosi Segale. Are we being told now that, that process was wrong?When I was in the middle of this article, word reached me to the effect that the all was not well in Moruleng in South Africa since the North West Provincial Premier Professor Job Mokgoro recognized Ramono Linchwe as the interim leader for that village in place of Nyalala Pilane. Demonstrators took to the streets burning tyres. Others carried placards with messages whose language is unprintable.

However, those demonstrations had been expected. Nobody was taken off guard because locals had been mobilizing themselves for a showdown with the law. Nyalala Pilane is currently refusing to meet with Ramono Linchwe for a proper handing-over of Moruleng properties. He had been invited for such a meeting by Ramono Linchwe.  His lawyers say Nyalala will face the wrath of his communities if he were to meet with Ramono or be seen to be associating with the man appointed as the interim leader by Premier Mokgoro.

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