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Ramahobo-Saleshando eyeing Wayeyi Chieftainship

Publishing Date : 16 April, 2018


The Wayeyi tribe is bracing itself for a chieftainship standoff as the community is deeply divided as to who should be their Kgosi after failing to coronate their paramount chief more than once.

As it stands the tribe is under the leadership of Jacob Pitoro Seedisa who took over from Kgosi Fish Ozoo who passed on early last year. The tribe together with the Wayeyi tribal council is split into two, with some pushing for the incumbent to remain on the throne while others want tribal coordinator Lydia Ramahobo-Saleshando to be their Chief.

Originally the chieftainship of the tribe has been from the three families of Mathwara, Hankuzi and Xonku. The incumbent, Seedisa originates from one of the families while Saleshando is not from any of them. Those who oppose her installation do so in that basis. The divisions from the tribal headquarters in Gumare are said to be rife to the point that even the tribal council is divided with some members having gone to the extent of resigning from the council. There is an unhappy lot that believes Seedisa as the incumbent, should remain as Kgosi since he originates from the royal family while on the other hand others are challenging the constitutionality of the chieftainship revolving around only the three families.

“The idea has all along been that the tribal council chooses the best from the three families on rotational basis to be the Chief who would be able to represent their interest first and that is where they clash. Because if you look at Saleshando she has fought gallantly for our recognition and she is a smart lady who cannot be intimidated to defend the interest of the tribe, but she is not in the royal circle,” a source from the tribe revealed on Thursday evening in a telephone interview.

Already the three family system is questioned as part of the morafe wants the chief to be voted just like in other tribes, but those against it, argue that Wayeyi is a major tribe therefore they don’t have to vote for their chief as it is born. “We are a recognized tribe, look at the trend, there is no where you would see for example Bangwato ba thopha Kgosi [Bangwato voting for their Kgosi], it is born not voted,” a source from the other faction stated.

The newly endorsed Wayeyi Chieftainship Council Chairperson Daniel Samsosasin could not be drawn into discussing details of the matter. “The committee has recently been dissolved, I was assisting the former Chairman and we are yet to meet,” he said.  He further added, “I am not aware of such because like I said I have just taken over. If anything it would be discussed at the meeting which for now we are yet to decide the date,” he stated when asked about the intentions of Saleshando to take over the chieftaincy.

The legality of the way the Wayeyi Chief is being elected was once raised but pushed under the carpet after the death of Kgosi Ozoo last year. “But now tables have turned everyone who wants the seat is out there and we expect even the incumbent to raise his hand, it will be up to the morafe to see who is their best candidate,” another coordinator of the Wayeyi tribe revealed to this paper. Efforts to engage Saleshando were futile at the time of going to press her cellphone rang unanswered. Text messages sent to her had also not been responded to at press time.

Bayeyi who were recognized last year are demanding territorial integrity and their own land board encompassing Okavango to Boteti, a factor which is believed to have influenced the then Minister of Local government and Rural Development Slumber Tsogwane to block their sovereignty. The main reason why Bayei wanted to have a recognized chief and tribe is to enjoy linguistic and cultural rights not enjoyed by non-recognized tribes. Among these are access to the institution of chieftaincy, permanent membership to Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, group rights to land, territorial and ethnic identity, a celebration of one’s culture in the public domain and the use of one’s language in education and the media.



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