Acting President Slumber Tsogwane says government highly recognises Bogosi as a unifying force in forging and maintaining national identity.To this end a five-year Strategic Plan 2018-2023 has been prepared for the Department of Tribal Administration with a view to heighten its value proposition and elevate the powers of Dikgosi to be commensurate with their responsibilities and relevance in the governance structures of the country.
Slumber indicated that in 2017/18, government took the decision to review the Bogosi Act, and progress has been satisfactory as the Draft Bill is under discussion by key stakeholders. “The Bogosi institution is enshrined in the Constitution, and is one of the key achievements of our multicultural society and democracy.
“In this regard, the democratic Botswana recognises the important place of our Dikgosi in the lives of many of our society. As Dikgosi, you know that the economic wellbeing of people is important. “The challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality continue to afflict Batswana. The global economy remains stagnant and our own country faces the problem of slow growth,” said Tsogwane when addressing a capacity building workshop for members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi in Gaborone this week. The Acting President expressed hope that the workshop will enhance the understanding of the functions of Ntlo ya Dikgosi.
It will also make clear distinction between the Constitutional requirements and the Bogosi Act with regard to Bogosi and Kgosi operatives, Tsogwane explained.He added that members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi would be empowered to approach critical issues affecting people and the country from different dimensions. He said that at a highly successful consultative meeting with the members in Maun last year President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi urged them to continue to help in instilling unity, social cohesion and nation building.
“The president also urged you to emphasise your value systems which are informed by your rich customs and traditions. Part of our value systems are Botho, Tlotlo ya molao and kagiso among others. “He also cautioned you against being partisan as this can erode the peace and stability which we are accustomed with,” he said. Tsogwane told the workshop that the country recently has been engulfed by horrific violence against women and children which goes against the country’s custom and the respect of human rights.
According to Tsogwane the government has declared all crimes against women and children as priority crimes to be dealt with. He appealed to Dikgosi to pioritise the fight against Gender Based Violence and crime in general. The acting president pledged his support to Bogosi as government is aware that the Bogosi institution will not be able to successfully perform its roles without proper support.
Justice Modiri Letsididi of Lobatse High Court is expected to preside over a dispute over the chieftaincy of Omaweneno village near Tsabong.The dispute stems from disagreements among the Bimbo royal house over who the legitimate heir to the throne is.
Members of the royal family have filed court papers, each claiming legitimacy to the chieftaincy. However questions are being raised regarding an answering affidavit deposed by the director of the Department of Tribal Administration, Masego Mooketsi.
The residents were eagerly waiting for Kgosi Sam Bimbo to hand over the throne to what they call the rightful heir, Paul Bimbo, but his contract as Headman of Record was extended for another year.
The issue dates back from 2015 when some family members of the Bimbo royal house requested government intervention as they argued that Sam was only a regent and should pave way for Paul Bimbo.In an affidavit filed before court, Paul Bimbo argues that he is the eldest surviving son of the late Stephen Bimbo who was the Headman of Omaweneno village.
“The Omaweneno village was founded and established by my late great grandfather Samuel January Bimbo…In terms of tradition it is the eldest male sibling who succeeds to chieftainship when the seat becomes vacant due to death or other reasons,” he argues.
He notes that Samuel January Bimbo handed over the throne to his eldest son, the late Jonas Bimbo when he passed on.
Jonas handed the chieftaincy to his eldest son Stephen Bimbo in 1978 due to old age. Stephen passed on in 1986 when his children were still considered too young and not matured enough to take over from their late father. According to documents, a decision was then made by the Bimbo family to install Azaria Bimbo on an acting capacity for Stephen Bimbo’s children.
Azaria was the eldest son to Edward Bimbo, younger brother to Jonas Bimbo. When Azaria died in 1995 his younger brother, Sam (the current Headman) was appointed, also on acting basis for Stephen Bimbo’s children.Meanwhile, the Director at the Department of Tribal Administration, Masego Mooketsi, has disputed the facts as presented by Paul Bimbo and posits that Sam Bimbo was never appointed as a regent but duly appointed as headman of record in Omaweneno village.
She argues that the applicant is concealing facts in order for him to fraudulently present himself as the most senior descendant of Stephen Bimbo and to mislead the court. “In actual fact the Applicant has to my knowledge 3 full siblings…. Ezekiel who was the eldest has two children who have attained the age of majority,” she argues.
In the same breath Mooketsi tells the court in her affidavit that Paul’s mother was not legally married to Stephen Bimbo, and in terms of the Baherero of Omaweneno culture there is no way he can be a headman. “Applicant has two half siblings whose mother was legally married to Stephen Bimbo,” she posits.
However, some within the feuding family have not taken kindly to the Director’s statement and came short of accusing her of lying under oath.The family wrote to the director and questioned how she wrote about the late Kgosi Stephen Bimbo’s children and even claimed that Paul was born out of wedlock.
“It is so unfortunate for an officer of your caliber to confidently write about things that she does not know without seeking clarity first. We consider this as an insult to our Kgosi Stephen Bimbo and it is against our traditional customs,” reads part of the letter.
Meanwhile 80-year old Norah Kalako who is Paul’s mother deposed of an affidavit before court confirming her marriage to Stephen Bimbo. Harriet Bimbo, who was second wife to Stephen, also wrote an affidavit supporting the claims. Other members of the community also wrote supporting affidavits.
On the other hand Sam Bimbo, the current Headman of Record, has argued that the Applicant has no legal standing to bring the application, as he does not belong to the Bimbo family. He also argues in his affidavit that in 1995 the Bimbo royal family met and decided that he should take over the chieftainship as the younger brother to the deceased chief, Azaria. “I was never appointed by the royal house or the government as a regent or in an acting capacity,” he says.