The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidate in the upcoming Goodhope-Mabutsane bye-election, Kgosi Lotlaamoreng, says that he will retain his royal title as he makes a foray into politics.
With no primary election process having been conducted, Lotlaamoreng, who until last month was the Barolong supreme traditional leader, is the consensus UDC candidate for Goodhope-Mabutsane. Since his installation in February 2002 and in accordance with Setswana custom, he has been using the regnal name of Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II. His father, Kgosi Besele II had died the previous year. A law graduate from the University of North West in Mafikeng, South Africa, Lotlaamoreng is the second child of late Kgosi Besele II and Mohumagadi Alinah Montshioa.
Lotlaamoreng has made clear the fact that he is not abdicating his throne but is merely taking leave of his duties to go into politics.
“There is a possibility that I might return to bogosi,” he said.
If he wins the bye-election, Lotlaamoreng will become the third kgosi in parliament ÔÇô the others are President Ian Khama of the Bangwato and Tawana Moremi of the Batawana. Lotlaamoreng opponents in the Botswana Democratic Party will find it difficult to criticise him for having one foot in bogosi and another in politics because their own leader has positioned his feet in the same manner.
While Lotlaamoreng will hold on to his royal title, he will be subjected to an official snub similar to that used with Moremi who has indicated that he would rather he was addressed with his royal title in parliament. In 2009, Moremi asked the Speaker why some MPs were addressed with titles they acquired outside the house (he gave as an example, members who use the army rank of lieutenant general) but others were denied the same honour. Around this time there two lieutenant generals in the house: Khama and the late Mompati Merafhe who was vice president at the time. At Ntlo ya Dikgosi, Moremi was referred to by his regnal name, Kgosi Tawana II, but that changed when he became an MP.
The bye-election is a result of James Mathokgwane resigning his position as constituency MP to join the civil service as a regional manager at the Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit. The Independent Electoral Commission has not yet announced the date of the bye-election. Kitso Mokaila, the former area MP whom Mathokgwane beat in last year’s general election, has predicted that the BDP will reclaim the constituency.
“By the way, the Borolong constituency is going back to where it belongs,” Mokaila said in parliament last week.