A Mongwato man who shares a royal ancestor with former president and Bangwato kgosi, Ian Khama, says that there would be nothing wrong with President Mokgweetsi Masisi “de-recognising him as kgosi.”
“De-recognising” is a term that was introduced into public lexicon when former Minister of Local Government, Lebonaamang Mokalake, administratively dethroned Kgosi Kgafela II of the Bakgatla. Ironically, Kgafela and his subjects don’t recognise the de-recognition and in turn, the government doesn’t recognise the tribe’s authority to derecognize what it recognises as law relating to bogosi.
The power of dikgosi was taken away in 1931 by an autocratic British Resident Commissioner called Sir Charles Rey and on becoming independent in 1966, the new indigenous rulers preserved the status quo in order to concentrate power in the government ÔÇô the presidency to be precise. Determined to not subject himself to the authority of a minister, Kgafela sought to consolidate power outside the establishment, eschewing membership of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, the lower of parliament made up by an assortment of differently-ranked traditional leaders. Naturally, that set him on a collision path with the government and when such collision occurred, Mokalake derecognized him. The minister was essentially doing what President Ian Khama wanted to happened. In other words, he was a mere messenger.
Molosiwa says that by derecognizing Kgafela, Khama set a precedent that he can himself be subjected to.
“Aren’t Khama and Kgafela equal as dikgosi?” he asks rhetorically. “Khama, like Kgafela, is not a member of Ntlo ya Dikgosi and can be subjected to the same treatment that Kgafela, who was also not a member of the house, was subjected to. Khama is doing exactly what Kgafela was doing [challenging the authority of the state] and can suffer the same consequences.”
Molosiwa adds that with Khama having set the de-recognition precedent, there would be nothing wrong with Masisi following in his footsteps. He sees and laments the irony of a kgosi trying to protect the sanctity of bogosi and indigenous culture, who never once dabbled in politics, being hauled over the coals while a self-interested one is allowed to go scot-free.
“Khama doesn’t want to protect the institution of bogosi because he confuses it with politics. He is Bangwato kgosibut also insists that he is still the president of the Botswana Democratic Party. What is that?”
Molosiwa offers an answer to that question and it is that Khama’s legendary sense of entitlement tells him that he has a right to wear his crown and meddle in politics at the same time. He cites the Bobonong case where Khama successfully campaigned for a political candidate who was standing against someone (Minister of Justice, Defence and security, Shaw Kgathi) that he had fallen out with. Molosiwa, who makes clear the fact that he doesn’t particularly care for Kgathi, says that the latter got a raw deal in the primary elections courtesy of a meddlesome Khama.
Molosiwa and Khama are descended from Khama I, who ruled from 1795 to 1817. While he now lives in Palapye, Molosiwa traces his roots to Maboledi Ward in Serowe.