Dikgosi who are not part of the main eight tribes in Botswana but members of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi have formed an association, called Botswana Dikgosi Association, much to the chagrin of some members of the eight main tribes Dikgosi representatives, Sunday Standard can reveal.
This was confirmed by a member of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, Kgosi Mbao Kahiko III of Ghanzi West Region.
Kahiko referred this publication to the Association’s Chairman, Kgosi Boitumelo Garegae.
“Yes I can confirm that there is such an association. The idea is alive as we speak and it is a registered association with the Registrar of Societies,” said Garegae.
According to Garegae, a meeting will be held on February 20 to iron out some of the outstanding issue that the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Peter Siele reportedly had advised the association to amend.
“We had overlooked some of the issues for such an association to exist. For instance, we had included some clauses that are related to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Minister advised us to scrap them off,” said Garegae.
Asked what the mandate of the association would be, Garegae said that there is need for Botswana Dikgosi to speak with one voice regardless of which tribes they represent.
“We believe that as Dikgosi we are all equal. There shouldn’t be some perceptions that this Kgosi is from the North East, North West or Southern part of the country. We should speak with one voice as dikgosi,” he said.
Garegae revealed that as traditional representatives of the tribes in Botswana there should be a sense of equity.
“For instance, when the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development wants to send his representative, we should appear as equal before him starting from as far as Kasane up to Ramatlabama and stretching to Charles Hill and Lentswe le Meriti. People in those areas have accepted the association,” he revealed further.
Garegae said September 14, 2012 they held a meeting in Ghanzi which was attended by, among others, Siele and his Permanent Secretary.
Sunday Standard investigations have revealed that the formation of the association has rubbed some Dikgosi of the eight main tribes the wrong way.
Falling short of telling some Dikgosi from the eight Paramount Chiefs to go to hell, Garegae confirmed that: “Yes, it is true that some members of the so-called Paramount Chiefs believe that the association intends to usurp positions or powers from them. If those Dikgosi from the so-called Paramount Chiefs are not willing to join our association we do not care. They can do whatever they wish and take with them the so-called Paramount Chiefs status.”
Without stating if the current paramount Chiefs are the ones who are opposed to the establishment of the Dikgosi Association of Botswana, Garegae revealed that some of the members of the eight main tribes who were opposed to the formation or membership include dikgosi from Bangwato and Bakwena tribes.
“Our position is that they can join or not join; that is up to them to decide. We have received tremendous and warm reception from as far as Kachikao in the Chobe District, Charles Hill in the Ghanzi District, Bobirwa in the Central District, and even some dikgosi from Ntlo ya Dikgosi,” he said.
He further revealed that even the late Seepapitso from the Bangwaketse when he was the Chairman of the House of Chiefs welcomed the association,” said Garegae.
“At the time that we proposed the association Seepapitso and Bakgatla Kgosikgolo Kgafela appreciated the formation of the association and even joined it. For instance when we held a meeting in Ghanzi, Kgafela, because of some commitments, sent his brother to represent him at the meeting,” he revealed.
Garegae said as far as the association was concerned, they did not want to politicise it. “We do not want a situation whereby the nation is made to believe that this Kgosi is a Kgalagadi representative, we should be all Botswana dikgosi and represent the interests of the nation and we want to be represented as such,” he said.
While confirming the existence of Botswana Dikgosi Association, Ntlo ya dikgosi Chairman who is also Batlokwa Kgosigkgolo or (Paramount Chief) Puso Gaborone declined to discuss the matter saying the association’s committee was better placed to respond to Sunday Standard queries.
Sunday Standard has also learnt that the association was formed after concerns by some members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi who are not from the eight main tribes and who feel that they are hardly consulted by cabinet when decisions are taken; but only the Dikgosi from the eight main tribes are consulted “but rubberstamp decisions made by Cabinet”.
“Initially the association has the backing of specially elected members of Ntlo ya dikgosi from Serowe, Ngwaketse and Kweneng but at times when they had to caucus as to who should assume the chairmanship of Ntlo ya Dikgosi they would chicken out because they do not want to offend the appointing authority who is President Ian Khama,” said a source.
It is also understood that the association is of the view that a kgosi from a non member of the main tribe should also vie for the Chairman of Ntlo ya Dikgosi.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Peter Siele, also referred this publication to the Association’s committee members.
“They are the ones who are better placed to deal with your queries. They only engage me when they feel there is a matter that needs my attention. But I can confirm that I was invited at the launch of the association in Ghanzi,” he said.