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Bogosi: Where to from here?

Publishing Date : 09 August, 2015

Author : EDITOR

During the formative years of this nation, various Dikgosi played a significant role in uniting and building tribes. This includes protection of this country from being incorporated into South Africa by Cecil John Rhodes.

A Kgosi was seen as the symbol of a tribe and given the outmost respect. He was a unifying factor in the tribe and all tribesmen were expected to submit to him. That is the essence of the institution of Bogosi.

Recent events in the Bogosi could be a catalyst for debate on what to do as a nation going forward. We either have to redeem Bogosi or watch it degenerate into oblivion.

It is an open secret that chiefs are not happy with the current state of affairs and want some amendments to the Bogosi Act as an effort to bring back their powers. Chiefs are no longer decision makers or at least not properly consulted on issues affecting the country.

The Ntlo ya Dikgosi is merely a ceremonial institution and despite being housed in the same building with the law making house in the mould of our National Assembly they cannot pass a bill or reject it. Even where they are said to be consulted it is purely mere formality.

Dikgosi in the present form have become unimportant and slowly but surely the relevance of Bogosi is at almost zero.  Ofcourse we should not be surprised by the latest developments in the Bogosi institution.

Recently Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II of Barolong abdicated the throne to join the divisive terrain of politics. When he was approached he was not even reluctant, but swiftly made the decision to leave the throne in search of more powers at the legislative assembly.

Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II is not the first and certainly not the last paramount chief to do so. The founding President of Botswana Sir Seretse Khama was a paramount chief of Bangwato. Kgosi Bathoen II became the second chief to leave the chieftainship throne for politics in 1969.

President Lt Gen Ian Khama is the legitimate Kgosi of Bangwato, while Tawana Moremi, is the paramount chief of Batawana.

The most critical question to reflect on is whether as nation we are ready to let the institution of Bogosi die a natural death or not. Because proper interventions can be formulated to ensure that the Bogosi is given the respect it deserves and Dikgosi continue to play their role of being a symbol of their tribes.

In Great Britain for instance, the House of Lords continues to play an important role similar to the one played by the House of Commons. Together the two form the ultimate law making House of Parliament.
Botswana can also elevate the status of Ntlo ya Dikgosi to a law making house with the power to debate the same bills debated by parliament or reject them. We need to find a way to bring them on board on issues of decisiong making especially at the highest level.

Our country was founded on the principles of Bogosi and we should continue to embrace the institution, not to reject it. Rejecting the Bogosi institution is tantamount to destroying the tribes, the fundamental of which this nation is built on.



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