Bangwato Regent, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane has fired salvo at some members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi for what he termed “the undermining of the eight main tribes and their leaders.”
Kgosi Kgamane made the statement last week during Ntlo ya Dikgosi session when debating a motion by Kgosi Galeakanye Modise of Tswapong Region requesting government to make a holistic review of Bogosi Act. Kgosi Kgamane said other tribes have been attacked with words during the debate of the motion. He emphasised that the attack was deliberate. He expressed worry that as tribal leaders they will hurt each other when debating the motion.
Specially elected Member of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, Kgosi Maruje Masunga interjected. He said he wanted to absolve himself from what BaMmangwato regent was associating with some members of the house. “Kgosi Kgamane is like a father to us. Some of us are not yet there at his age but I have to state that no one was attacked during the debates. I for one was quoting the Balopi Commission. My integrity does not allow me to attack other members or their tribes. If someone was attacked then that was done (sic) by the person who wrote the Balopi Commission report,” he said.
But Kgosi Kgamane did not buy that. “I am free to say what I want to say without interruption as long as I do not insult anyone. People have been speaking hurtful words in this house under this motion. I am however not going to say what previous speakers said. It is painful if you are told that some people are controlling a vast territory that even hinders them from executing their mandate”, said Kgamane
He explained that he is against the motion, arguing that the Act which was enacted in 2008 after the review of the Chieftainship Act is just fine. He stated that there was a taskforce team from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to consult on conditions of service for Dikgosi. “I was a member of the task force team and during the consultations various dikgosi indicated that bogosi is by birth and not vote. The issue about the word Kgosana was never raised”, he said. Kgosi Kgamane disagreed that the word Kgosana undermines the institution of Bogosi. He said according to culture there is one chief, his brothers, uncles and dikgosana. “The word kgosana is part of our culture it has been there for years. So I do not understand why the word should be removed from the Act.”
Kgosi Oreagetse Machilidza of Boteti Region had earlier argued that Act discriminates against other chiefs, pointing out that as dikgosi they are said to be equal, “but we know that others control vast territories. How can one Kgosi control a large territory and expect them to manage. Even Members of Parliament, their constituencies are manageable. But you will find that one Kgosi within his territory there are about four to six constituencies. We have had enough of this Act. We want this law to be changed for our benefit and not just be squeezed as if we do not matter. We do not want to be taken for granted because we also pay tax in this country like any other leader.” Kgosi David Toto II of Kgalagadi Region said dikgosi do not have powers. He is against the vesting of powers over dikgosi with the minister. He said the intention of the Act was to empower all dikgosi something which he said does not exist.
Dikgosi want Section 3 of Bogosi Act to be amended. According to the section the minister after consulting a tribal community in its Kgotla, may recognise that the tribal community is a tribe. Sub-section 2 of the Section states that in deciding so, the minister shall take into account the history, origins, and organisational structure of the community, and any other relevant matters.
Kgosi Modise called on other dikgosi to be calm when debating issues such as bogosi. He said it is important to look at the Act now so as to guard themselves against troubles in the coming years. He thanked those who supported him stating that change can be hurtful. Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Frans Van Der Westhuizen concurred that amendments have to be considered and promised that they would try to see if it is necessary to amend the Bogosi Act.