A fortnight ago, I wrote an article in which I discussed the behaviour of the supporters of President Khama and Kgosi Kgafela II. I indicated that both leaders have loyal and blind supporters who always endorse everything that they do or say irrespective of whether it is right or wrong.
In response to my article, the most intelligent person ever to be employed by the UB, Rre Thabo Seleke, launched a scathing attack on me and other university Lecturers who commented on the Bakgatla fiasco. His diatribe came in an article entitled “Our Gods must be crazy” (Sunday Standard, 7th Nov 2010). In his article, he calls us “academic fongkongs and mombas” who should be dismissed with contempt because we have failed dismally to discuss issues that he believes are central to Kgafela’s court case.
Let me indicate to our academic genius that the aim of my article was not to address the issues that he raised. It was simply to indicate that there is no difference between people who blindly support President Khama and those who blindly support Kgafela. That’s all.
I am not interested in the issues raised by Rre Seleke because some of them are points of contention before a court of law. It is entirely up to him to discuss them because that might help him to demonstrate his academic prowess and pedigree. By the way, who is he to tell us what we should write about or even how we should present our arguments?
Rre Seleke also specifically contends that it is unnecessary for me to state that Kgafela was my senior at Moeding College and at UB. I guess all level headed and open minded people including some Bakgatla who read my article understood what I said and the relevance of making a connection between the Kgafela that I knew as a student and the one that I see today as a paramount chief.
Well, the only explanation that I can provide for Rre Seleke’s failure to connect two simple points presented in simple English is that at the time when Kgafela and I were students at UB doing our degree programmes, he was trying to get a Diploma from BIAC. This academic genius did not meet the university admission requirements as the best that he could get in Form Five was a third class. It was only after getting his Diploma that he managed to find his way to UB where he struggled to complete his degree programme as evidenced by the fact that he repeated either his third or fourth year. Thereafter, he luckily wobbled through the MPA programme and was miraculously employed by UB after trying many times.
Let me hasten to say that it is not only his record as a student that is not better than ours, but also his publication record as an academic and yet he has the guts to call us all sorts of derogatory names. He is a typical example of an empty vessel that makes the loudest noise, doubting the credibility of other people when he has absolutely nothing academic that he can write home about. A sissy who spends most of his time bad-mouthing and gossiping about his colleagues in class instead of teaching!
He complains that our articles are not supported by facts or concrete evidence. What facts or evidence is he looking for? Is it not a fact that people have been flogged in Mochudi without following due process? Is it not a fact that a pregnant woman and her boyfriend were flogged by the notorious Madibelankwe? Is it not a fact that Kgafela and Mmusi failed to appear in court which resulted in a warrant of arrest being issued for them?
I agree entirely with Rre Seleke when he says that no one is above the law. In fact, he should have gone further to say that “no man, including Kgafela, is above the law.” If other paramount chiefs and dikgosana follow due process in flogging people, why should Kgafela the human rights Lawyer be allowed to do it in a barbaric manner?
Ours is a Republic governed by the constitution. All people, including Kgafela, have to operate within the parameters set by legal instruments which are subordinate to the constitution. Lawlessness cannot be allowed under the guise of cultural revival. Only schooled idiots and blind supporters of Kgafela can argue in the contrary.
If indeed there is a political agenda to destroy Kgafela and the institution of chieftainship as alleged by Rre Seleke, why did he keep quiet when Kgosi Kgari Sechele was prosecuted for child maintenance or when Kgosikwena Sebele was incarcerated for stealing a goat? Bangwato never cry and wail when he insults their paramount chief but he cries and uses delinquent language when we comment on the wayward behaviour of his chief.
The argument that flogging is peculiar to Bakgatla culture is simply flawed and should be dismissed with contempt. It can only be made by people who were brainwashed in the bush like Rre Seleke to justify injustices occasioned on people by Kgafela. Flogging is done by all tribes in Botswana after affording all the accused persons a fair hearing which is a fundamental principle of natural justice. That is why Kgafela and company have been allowed by the state to assemble a strong legal team to ensure that they get a fair trial, a right that he (Kgafela) has denied his subjects.
Let me remind Rre Seleke that the university authorities gave him a fair hearing when sexual harassment charges were brought against him by students in 2008. If it was in Mochudi, they could have flogged and sacked him without trial. But this is not the way things are done in a civilized society such as ours.
It is only a schooled idiot that can think of his rights and those of his chief on one hand and totally disregard those of other people on the other hand. This is hypocrisy of the highest order which clearly demonstrates the mindset and mental state of a man who wants to be viewed as an academic genius.
Let me conclude by reminding Rre Seleke that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. The use of delinquent language, banalities and trivialities badly expose your “academic fongkongness.” My rebuttal to your anticipated response will appear in this column after a fortnight. Let’s continue the discussion.
*Dr Mothusi teaches Public Administration at the University of Botswana