Monday, May 27, 2024

No human being should be subjected to the kind of humiliation that Kgosi Kgafela has had to go through

Whatever their grievances against Kgosi Kgafela of Bakgatla, the government treatment of the man has been reprehensible and unpardonable.

That treatment has as a result brewed simmering resentment among his followers and even eroded any good relations that the current government might have had with Kgosi Kgafela’s followers.

Few things have demonstrated a greater lack of moral courage on the part of our political leaders than the way they behaved when it came to their disdainful treatment of Kgafela and the institution he represents in Kgatleng.

When it comes to Kgosi Kgafela, our government fuelled a fight that they were bound to lose.

This has nothing to with the criminal charges that the Kgosi faced.

It all has to with a  lack of grip that has shown our government’s detachment from reality.

The final nail on the coffin was a statutory notice by a cabinet minister announcing that government had de-recognised Kgosi Kgafela as the rightful head of his tribe.

For a person who has from the onset made it clear that he would not be drawing any salary from government because as a Kgosi he eschewed any attempts that made him look like a civil servant, it should have been clear to government strategists that they were playing into his hands.

De-recognising Kgafela had an effect of a self fulfilling prophecy on his part ÔÇô providing him with proof and evidence, if any were ever needed that politicians were bent on turning chieftainship into a house of cards.

That ill-fated de-recognition bolstered Kgafela’s case and made him even stronger than he had been before his fight with Government started.

There is evidence that government is now backtracking ÔÇô not because of any goodwill on their part.

But because they have badly and flatly lost.

Any efforts on the part of government to atone for the evils they have committed will not immediately bear any fruits.

In fact the damage that has happened will with time prove nearly  irreparable.

Rebuilding the broken bridges will be a slow and painstaking efforts.

In fact it might take much longer than a lifetime before relations are back to normal.

Swift and convenient amends as that hoped for by Government are not only misplaced but also disingenuous.

It might take change of personalities at the helm on both sides of the insurgency before relations are reset for peaceful co-existence.

Make no mistake, Kgosi Kgafela was neither an angel nor a saint.

He has made many mistakes that made him a target of political ill will.

His biggest mistake has however not been his deeply held sense of righteousness. Though that has significantly contributed to the ongoing tragedy.

It has also not been his unwillingness to broach, much less entertain an opinion that differed with his him, even as that too has been a stumbling block.

Rather it has been a zeal on his part to implement far reaching reforms even as it became clear that he was way ahead of his time, especially coming at a time when our politics are led by people that are averse to sharing power.

His inflexible faith in the divine mysticism of chieftainship has often seemed flawed.

It portrayed a spirited resistance on his part to adapt the institution he symbolized to the changed prevailing circumstances.

Along the way such hard-line attitude repelled and isolated even many of his potential supporters.

His purist adherence to traditionalist practices has  often evoked comparisons to feudalism especially in its intensity and absolutism.

For example his instinctive belief that he was inevitably poised to win his case against the Constitution of Botswana easily mirrored a kind of fundamentalism that is only found among religious sects.

And when he lost the case he was left exposed, standing on one leg and with no Plan B.

But still it was unimaginable that an African Government could see nothing wrong orchestrating a ruthless and merciless coup against a traditional leader who not so long ago had been installed by a Head of State.

As  history undergraduates we were taught how the British colonial government had banished Kgosi Sebele of Bakwena from Molepolole to Ghanzi.

The upshot of it was a total disorientation of the Kweneng Chieftainship dynasty, the effects of which the institution is yet to recover ÔÇô almost a hundred years on.

The fact that the same has not happened to Bakgatla really is credit to that tribe, but more especially to the reverence with which Kgosi Kgafela is held ÔÇô not only by his followers but also by the immediate members of the royal family in Mochudi.

Given the ferocious treatment that Kgafela has had to contend with from a powerful state machinery, any other leader would by now have been deposed with the assistance of royal lackeys who are not able to resist the carrot dangled at them by the state. The government has tried that route. And badly failed.

The man has suffered long enough. And the humiliation he has been subjected to should not be wished upon any man ÔÇô whatever their faults.


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