Vice President Slumber Tsogwane has come out to explain reasons behind his change of surnames after speculation was rife the change might have been motivated by his dark past with a diamond mining company.
Following a report by The Botswana Gazette that the vice president changed his surname from Mmolawa to Tsogwane, the vice president explained in an exclusive interview that he indeed followed all the legal processes to change his surname and that it had nothing to do with his dealings with the mining company where they once refused to grant him permanent residence into Orapa following an alleged investigation they were carrying out on him.
Tsogwane explained that Mmolawa is his grandfather’s name while Tsogwane is his father’s name. ‘‘I was adopted by my brother and used my grandfather’s name but I decided to eventually use my father’s name because all my siblings were using it,’’ Tsogwane explained. He said he followed all the legal procedures and has the legal paper work to prove it. The vice president said he felt the need to explain the change of his name least people end up thinking he was using a name that he had no biological connection to. In fact, Tsogwane said his grandfather’s name was Mbulawa (Kalanga for Mmolawa) but people in Boteti mostly preferred the Setswana version, Mmolawa.
On his battles with the mining company, the vice president explained that more than twenty years ago while still a teacher, he was posted to a junior secondary school in Orapa as deputy head teacher but the mining company refused him permanent residence permit and only allowed him temporary permit which meant he had to always apply for renewal. ‘‘I vehemently fought this arrangement not only for myself but also for others who found themselves in such inconveniencing situations as I felt it infringed on our constitutional right of freedom to movement and more importantly because I had not been found guilty of any offence that warranted such discrimination,’’ Tsogwane explained and further revealed that back in those days security personnel at the mining company abused their powers and could bar anyone from entering Orapa without any valid reasons. ‘‘You could easily be labelled a suspect in diamond theft just because you drove a brand new car or even worse just because you have personal grudges with a security officer,’’ Tsogwane said.