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Kgafela bids farewell to Bakgatla in Moruleng

Publishing Date : 18 December, 2018

Author : AUBREY LUTE

Indications are that Bakgatla Kgosikgolo, Kgafela II and Government of Botswana are talking again and there is a likelihood that one of the most controversial traditional leaders of the land may come back and lead his people, Bakgatla Ba Kgafela. But there is a catch, apparently he has to renounce his multiple citizenship.


This past week Kgosi Kgafela addressed his subjects in Moruleng South Africa where he told them his job that side was done and he has accomplished what he started in 2012 when he arrived. In a speech that encoded both a Christmas and a farewell message, Kgafela thanked those who supported his mission.


“The way I see things, during 2018 we managed to accomplish what we came here for. What may be lagging behind will naturally correct along the way. We won the issue of land at the constitutional court after we learnt that Kgosi Nyalala and his friends at the mines were taking that which belonged to Bakgatla.”Kgafela emphasized that they have taught other tribes that the rule of law is very important. He implored Bakgatla to follow the rule of law, “because the law will always catch up with you, it may take you ages, flouting the law thinking you are above everything, but ultimately, it catches up with you,” he said.


In his speech to indicate that his next steps could be heading back to Botswana, Kgosi Kgafela emphasized that the Bakgatla in Moruleng should not forget that Bakgatla in Botswana, Mochudi helped them in a big way. “Always remember that Bakgatla in Mochudi helped this course and ensure that he assist them also should they need you,” he said. According to Kgafela, Bakgatla Ba Kgafela in Botswana have issues with the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) led government, and the time has come for him to address these subject.


“I do not want to leave these issues for Matshego (Kgafela’s son). It is time to take them head on starting next year (2019),” Kgosi Kgafela said to a loud applause from the crowd. Kgosi Kgafela shared that their issues with the BDP led Government come from far and it is time to deal with and close the chapter. Kgosi Kgafela is said to have endured a lot of pain while in South Africa because two of his closest friends passed on, one under mysterious circumstances and he could not come home to bury them.


“This has affected him greatly and wants to find peace with it,” said one of Kgosi Kgafela’s close associates. Indications are that the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Kgosikgolo sees the need to return and he is almost there hence his latest message to Bakgatla in Moruleng, South Africa.


GOVERNMENT CONTACTS KGAFELA

This publication has it on good record that talks have begun between Kgosi Kgafela and the Government. Kgosi Kgafela and some within government have been in contact for about a month with the nagging issue being that of his multiple citizenships. Kgosi Kgafela has a USA, Botswana and South African citizenship.


The issue of Kgosi Kgafela’s citizenship was still the stumbling block during former President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama’s tenure and it remains under President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi. With President Masisi’s speeches encoded on the ‘rule of law’, the role of the Attorney General’s Chambers will come in handy in the discussions with Kgosi Kgafela. It is understood that the AG’s Chambers wants Kgosi Kgafela II to renounce his other citizenships, a bait that he does not want to take. “Under former President Khama they had agreed on everything except the issue of citizenship.” It is elections next year in Botswana, and political war lords fighting on the BDP corner are adamant that should Kgosikgolo return, the BDP will walk over the opposition


KGAFELA’S CHIEFTAINSHIP AND CLASHES WITH GOV’T


Kgafela II, who was installed as Bakgatla chief in 2008, left the country in 2012, following a series of battles with government over a number of issues. He had been de-recognised by the then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Lebonaamang Mokalake at the time of his departure to South Africa, renouncing the Botswana citizenship in the process, after acquiring South African citizenship.


In a letter written to then Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Ramadeluka Seretse, Kgafela II stated in the letter that; “ I am a King who rules over a tribe in two countries. That circumstance is not of our own doing but a product of colonialism. The fact of the matter is that I have settled in South Africa permanently as a South Africa citizen. What you do with my citizenship of Botswana is up to you, since you now own the country as a family.”


In his previous battles with government, Kgafela II had challenged the constitution of Botswana wanting it to be set aside as he contended that it was fraudulently adopted. He was taken to court for floggings in Kgatleng, charged with several others. He left for South Africa when faced with an arrest warrant and a possible prison term. In his absence some of his co-accused made peace with the then Khama led Government, but he remained steadfast until today.


In South Africa, Kgafela II, where he emerged victorious again, was fighting an even tougher battle where his legitimacy as a ruler of Bakgatla in Moruleng was being questioned by one Nyalala Pilane who had been a regent since 1996.

BAKGATLA AND GOV’T TIFF EXPLAINED

Kgosi Kgafela explained their differences with the BDP led Government in detail in the past, he has said the issue is more than that. In fact few people understand how and when Bakgatla’s war of words with Government started.  “The Botswana government has a longstanding disrespect for Bakgatla and their tribal leadership. Khama is just pushing where his father left off,” he told WeekendPost when asked to give a clue that could lead to the start of the trouble back in 2012.


And if Kgafela‘s utterances are to be taken seriously then history may be repeating itself as former President Lt Gen Ian Khama‘s late father who also happens to be the first president of Botswana Sir Seretse Khama also went public, criticizing Kgafela‘s late father Kgosi Linchwe II on the revival of initiation schools in his 1975 independence day message; something that set the two on a collision path just like their sons now.


A perusal of history materials also show that the Bakgatla leadership and tribe have always been in the forefront of such issues. In fact it appears Kgafela took his cultural reform cues from his late father Kgosi Linchwe II. In their book, The Politics of the Past, scholars Peter Gathercole and David Lowenthal, quote Seretse Khama as saying that“...at this point one is tempted to remark about the renaissance of wasteful and long forgotten tribal rituals such as Bogwera.


In my view Bogwera is a divisive ritual. It smacks of the seeds of disunity, coming as it does, at a time when we thought we were winning the battle against tribalism. I would not agree with anybody who might want to convince me that Bogwera is a useful ritual in this day and age.” Kgafela believes that the animosity between the late Seretse Khama and Linchwe II has not followed them to their graves as he and Khama have revived it. Kgafela recalls that Khama‘s recent state of the nation address under Law and Order, was tailor-made for them when Khama talked of vigilantes.

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