Pilikwe chief under DIS radar

Yvonne Mooka
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
Kgosi Gasebalwe Seretse Kgosi Gasebalwe Seretse

Pilikwe village Kgosi Gasebalwe Seretse has lodged a complaint with the director of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Isaac Kgosi against harassment by members of his organisation.

In a letter dated August 11, 2017, the youthful Seretse who was appointed the village chief two years back says that he is under investigation for stealing by servant. He states that residents of Pilikwe- a village in the Central District - have been interrogated by DIS agents over the said crime, which he says is nothing but fabrication by a rival camp in the village to discredit him. He says the agents have identified themselves as people from the Office of the President. “The aforementioned camp, which I believe is behind the case, is strongly connected to your subordinate, (name known to this paper), whom I suspect uses his position and influence to support and strengthen the cause of the rival camp. As you might know, he is from Pilikwe and it can’t be surprising that he might have a personal interest in the tribal politics of our village,” says Seretse in his letter to the spy boss. According to sources in Pilikwe, sometimes early last year, the Bogosi leadership went to Morupule Coal Mine to ask for donation of tiles for the loobo (shelter) at the Kgotla. The mine agreed and gave them the tiles valued at around P15 000. 

After construction of the shelter, a few tiles remained. Kgosi Seretse is believed to have taken them for his personal use without consent of the morafe. In an interview with Botswana Guardian, the chief says that he had asked the clerk to give him receipts so that he could buy the remaining tiles, which was delayed as receipts could not be found. He says that he then took them and that a few people in the Kgotla were aware that he was going to pay for them later after his leave. He says he only found out last month when he was on leave that police officers had come looking for him at the Kgotla with allegations of theft. 

He was also notified that some villagers had been interrogated by DIS agents over the matter. He says that some members of the CID came to his house the following day accusing him of stealing tiles. “It all happened so fast,” he says, explaining that his plan was to also wait for receipt copies from CTM where the tiles were bought so that he could pay them.  

Palapye Police Station Commander Waboraro Ramaja says there is an inquiry against Kgosi Seretse. “We are still gathering information,” he said.

 

Foul play?

Kgosi Seretse singled out one headman Kgomo Mosiakgabo as a trouble-maker in the village. He said Mosiakgabo, who is allegedly a relative of the DIS officer in question, was never receptive of having him as the village chief from the onset. 

This paper is in possession of letters accusing Mosiakgabo of insubordination. The elder has been demoted from a bigger ward (Maaloso a Ngwana) to a smaller one (Kgomo) because of insubordination. As of last week, he was given a letter by Kgosi Seretse terminating his allowance for headman of arbitration. 

“This follows your failure to perform your duties as headman of arbitration of Kgomo ward in Pilikwe. As you are fully aware, you were fully demoted to the position last year by the Ngwato Tribal Authority after being insubordinate to me and the Khama family, in this case, Rre Sekgoma Khama,” he says. 

In response, Mosiakgabo told Botswana Guardian that Kgosi Seretse was turning residents against him by portraying him as a bad person. “They’ve even reported me at the Local Government ministry that I’m not a good leader,” he says. He would not want to be drawn into further details, except that he was aware of allegations of theft against the chief. 

An elder from the village says that he has tried to mediate between the two parties but to no avail. He said that Mosiakgabo has not been submissive. “The fact that Kgosi is a young man is a major issue with him and he has not been good towards him,” he said. While he admits the chief did not do right by taking the tiles without communication, the elder says that there have been worse cases in the past where a traditional leader had stolen P5000 but was never reported to the police. In fact, he said that morafe quickly contributed and paid the money to protect the chief. “This is more than meets the eye. Those tiles are few and would not even fit a small room. It is just people trying to destroy our chief and wanting to push him out,” he said. Meanwhile, one of the villagers who says he was interrogated by the DIS in June, Baki Tlale, said that the chief asked him to help him with his van to load the tiles.“There were 16 boxes and he was not clear whether he had paid them or not. He did not even tell members of the Village Development Committee that he was going to take the tiles,” he said. 

DISS director Kgosi confirmed having received Seretse’s letter but could not divulge further details. The DISS officer accused of conniving with a rival group could not be reached as his phone rang unanswered. 

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