Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Ke Thupa Fela!!!. The Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Commission Update

Let us just admit on the onset dear reader, that there are those who when they see this title heading, bite their lips and throw tantrums. It is one of those controversial topics that evokes high mercurial temperature from both protagonists and antagonists.

In his Tlatsa Lesaka national tour to bid the nation farewell, former President Lt Gen Dr Seretse Khama played his cards close to his chest when asked if Bakgatla’s paramount Chief Kgafela Kgafela II would  be recognized by the government of Botswana anytime soon. Khama told the multitudes that thronged the Kgotla during his farewell meeting in Mochudi that government is not fighting with the tribe and they would recognize him if he applied for Botswana citizenship.

Khama highlighted to Bakgatla that; “Kgafela should do it fast because his time was gone as president. The government is not fighting with you. I can only recognize the one who is in Botswana and who is a Motswana,” Khama said referring to the deputy chief Bana Sekai. “You can ask Kgosikgolo to come here, I will recognize him, but he should ask for citizenship of which I will give. As you know we once had a problem with one of the members of the royal family and it’s a history I don’t want to dwell much on that but I have pardoned him so I can do the same with him,”

Whatever, he meant by that, he can be called to address a Press Conference and state fully what informed him to say such. The least talked about the BETTER.

Bakgatla Ba Kgafela should place their hopes, trust and belief on President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

If Sissy Boy did it for the good lawyer Joao Salbany who was PI(ed), why can’t he do it for the Bakgatla ba Kgafela King? Masisi stated that a review was in order in the case of Salbany and stated that they saw some error and that was corrected and he is no longer PI(ed). The President said an apology is in order and noted that there is growing set of files where persons are appealing for one reason or the other, and each will be looked at in its own merit.

This is a very welcome development by President Masisi. It creates a window of hope especially for Bakgatla Ba Kgafela, for some scrupulous Bakgatla ba Kgafela tribes’ men masquerading as the King’s ally have gone rogue. Reckless pathological liars who use the King’s name to gain political mileage, false pretenders and Ikwenkwes (Manyela Phafana ÔÇô Ka Sekgatla) with no shame, who can even go to the extent of claiming they are the spokesperson of the royal family. The very same, they have no respect for and only find comfort and joy when there is no peace.

Going to every radio station to peddle lies, sow seeds of discord amongst the tribe, exchanging the brown envelope with some un-ethical journos to write stories that are misleading is not a panacea. It is undisputable fact that there is an urgent need for the State and Bakgatla ba Kgafela to find an amicable solution to their long outstanding impasse and such must not come by way of  telling lies, that the King wants to install his son as Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Kgosi Kgolo amongst many others. These culprits surely have evil intensions with their primary motive being to keep the King away so that they enjoy some monetary gains at the expense of the King. Once the dust has settled, these Tsotsi’s must not be left of the hook; they must be un-masked and called to order. They MUST account for all the moneys, groceries they have collected from un-suspecting victims using the King’s name.

What is comforting however is that the Commission in the Traditional Leadership Dispute in Respect of the Bakgatla ba Kgafela Community is coming to an end. The Commission started on the 19th September 2016 and was expected to end third week of July 2017. It did not. Its terms of reference included amongst other things the following:

1:1 The Role of a Paramount Chief in terms of tradition and custom specifically in Botswana V/s Moruleng 1.2: The powers and procedure if any to appoint a Senior Traditional leader of Bakgatla ba Kgafela in Moruleng 1:3: To determine who the rightful heir is, in terms of tradition and custom, had Tidimane Pilane not acted in the manner indeed which led to the appointment of Nyalala Pilane 1:4 The merits and demerits of Merafhe Ramono’s claim as Senior Traditional Leader as was referred to the North West Provincial Community during 2014. 1.5: The Role of Senior Traditional Leader of Bakgatla ba Kgafela in Moruleng 1:6: The correct relationship between Kgafela Kgafela II and the Senior Traditional Leader in Moruleng under our constitutional dispensation 1:7 The role of 32 sub villages officiating the appointment of Senior Traditional Leader in Moruleng village. 1.8: The role of the 32 villages under Moruleng in the acquisition-making process 1.9: The flow of financial benefits in any transactions conducted with any third party in the name of or on behalf of Bakgatla ba Kgafela by any person It is important to emphasize that the former Premier of the North West, Supra Obakeng Ramoeletse Mahumapelo in December 2015, presented findings of the North West Provincial Committee on Traditional Leadership Claims and Disputes to the Royal Family. The Premier issued a statement that he had decided to set aside the outcomes of the committee in favour of judicial commission of enquiry to investigate Bogosi of Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela and hence the current commission, Chaired previously by  the late Judge Maluleke and now

 It is also important to note dear reader that the current dispute and claimaincy to the Bogosi of Bakgatla ba Kgafela in Moruleng is not a new development. Kgosi Kgolo Linchwe II, Kgafela Kgafela II’s father also had to deal with it and the matter ended up at the High Court in Mahikeng.

Significant progress has been made with respect to the commission and some findings from the initial sittings are already out. Let me just point out that although I am not an Inyanga nor am I fortune teller, the writing is already clear on the wall, “Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela Kgafela o betsa go utlwala. Ke thupa fela. Victory is in the offing.  I am optimistic that King Kgafela Kgafela II will at the end of the commission emerge victorious. So far it has been “Thupa fela. Kgabo o betsa go utlwala.

In one of the reporting on the Commission, the City Press of the 15th April 2018, Lesetja Malope reported that Bakgatla ba Kgafela Tribal Authority (BBKTA) in Moruleng, allegedly faces a probe by the South African Revenue Services (Sars) related to the tax evasion involving one of its multi million rand deals. Malope stated that a reliable source close to the mater said the BBKTA transaction with Pallinghurst resources a few years ago resulted in the transaction advisors agreeing to cancel their mandate and instead receive the money via buyout for the same amount as the fee they were meant to get.

The matter according to Malope was corroborated by one of the witnesses and former Director of the BBK group Zitha Dube at the commission into the tribal authority, affairs in Rustenburg. Pallinghurst parted with R1.6 billion to BBK, but instead of receiving a fee of more than R340 Million, a deal was struck with BBK to buy them out for the same out.

This is one of the key issues that Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela Kgafela had promised his tribe to undertake and indeed it is already clear from finding thus far, ke thupa fela.

While many may have wished him to be in jail by now, having labelled him and perceived him as a reckless intruder, a renegade and fugitive, gone to disturb Nyalala and his riches without necessarily familiarising themselves with the Commission’s, they must ready themselves for a major upset. Who knows, Sissy boy might just spice it up by burying the hatchet between Bakgatla ba Kgafela v/s State impasse, as this will go in line with his road map of a better Botswana. Sissy boy knows very well that traditional institutions are still relevant actors in Botswana, offering support, basic services and ethnic identity to traditional communities.

*Thabo Lucas Seleke writes from Seleme Farm, Rasesa

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.