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Gov’t warns Kgamane over Khama, Moitoi

Publishing Date : 04 February, 2019


Bangwato regent Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane has dismissed allegations levelled against him by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural development after he was accused of using Serowe Kgotla for political expediency.

Confidential documents seen by WeekendPost reveal that the letters written to Kgosi Kgamane addressed as Motshwarelela Bogosi Jwa Ga Mmangwato were a directive from the Office of the President (OP). The letter, dated 31st December 2018, was authored by ex-president Lt Gen Ian Khama’s former Senior Private Secretary, Col Duke Masilo, now Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and copied to Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration.

Addressed through Director, Tribal Administration, the letter read in part, insinuate that the turnout at Serowe Main Kgotla on 23rd December 2018 on what was purportedly a Christmas party turned out to be a political meeting at which the former president Lt Gen Ian Khama used the opportunity to attack and castigate the integrity and leadership of President Mokgweetsi Masisi. The letter continues to say Khama further used the Kgotla to ridicule and express his personal disparaging opinion about president of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

“In addition to that, the former President also openly and with intention to cast aspersion on the judgement of his Excellency to relief the former Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi of her duties, rallied support for Venson- Moitoi,” reads part of the letter. The letter suggested that at the same gathering, Venson- Moitoi publicly criticized the decision by president Masisi to drop her from Cabinet and used the platform to solicit for votes in her Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential bid.

The same letter also made reference to an incident that happened at Moremi Kgotla on 16th November 2018, where Member of Parliament for the area, Prince Maele is alleged to have incited people when proclaiming to stand by former president in his vote of thanks remarks.
It said what happened at Serowe main Kgotla, was a repeat and it is totally undesirable.

“You are therefore directed to desist and refrain forthwith from allowing anyone to use any Kgotla for political expediency. In light of the foregoing, you are requested to provide and explanation of the turn of events on the 23rd December 2018 at Serowe Kgotla soonest but not later than 10th January 2019,” Masilo instructed. In his response Kgosi Kgamane said to his best recall, he did not hear Khama attacking and castigating the integrity and leadership of President Masisi.

“In the same vein I am not aware of Hon Dr Venson- Moitoi soliciting for votes to the presidency race at Botswana Democratic Party,” wrote Kgamane. Kgamane said in relation to the President of the US, the former president Khama indicated that he did not like his leadership in relation to abuse of human rights.  “Utterance by Hon Prince Maele at Moremi Kgotla on 16th November 2018 is also news to me,” said Kgamane. In a telephone interview, Khama said he did not see the letter authored to Kgamane, but indicated that what is alleged in the letter is totally inaccurate.

He said they [OP] can go and get the recordings to inform themselves better of what transpired at the Serowe Kgotla. “I personally have addressed many Kgotla meetings across the country and I know what is appropriate to say in a Kgotla meeting. I therefore reject any attempts by newcomers telling me what to say at a Kgotla,” said Khama. The former President said as a nation Botswana continue to experience an erosion in its democracy. He said Botswana’s democracy is centred on a Kgotla system and nobody understands it better than him.

 Khama said as things stands now there is no freedom of speech in the country and people are held accountable for what they say during Kgotla meetings. Moremi Kgosi was also summoned to write a report entailing what happened during Maele’s Kgotla meeting in question.
It is understood that Kgosi Days refused to write the letter alleging that the meeting was just a normal Kgotla meeting and nothing peculiar or sinister occurred.

After the kgotla the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation led by Dr Unity Dow had expressed concern over the remarks made by former President Khama about the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. The Ministry stated that it was wrong for Khama to use the Kgotla to make political pronouncements.

However in response, Khama indicated that, “whilst I acknowledge the mandate of the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation to promote and maintain good relations with other countries, however, during my term in office I was prepared to, and indeed I did criticize poor governance displayed by those leaders and governments of other countries who violated those principles anchored on democracy and human rights around the world even if they did not like our doing so.”

He pointed out that the Ministry is free to abandon those principles and ignore Donald Trump's present and past disrespectful tendencies which he clearly displayed in the manner some time ago, in the way he referred to countries in Africa. “I am proud that when I was President, Botswana was one of those that criticised him over those insulting and racist remarks.

I did not then, nor will I now shy away from confronting the likes of him as he continues every day to display unacceptable behavior in dividing people based on color, religion, ethnicity or in any way.” Khama further said: “at no time did I claim in my remarks about Trump that I represented the Botswana Government nor do I wish to. Mafoko a kgotla a mantle otlhe.



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