- Minister Autlwetse says it is a matter of BaYeyi holding elections and submitting a name to gov’t
- BaYeyi say gov’t has been stalling since 2017
- Stand-off between BaTawana and BaYeyi on bogosi could be a factor
The government has repudiated reports that it does not have any plans of welcoming Kgosi Pitoro Seidisa of BaYeyi to Ntlo ya Dikgosi.
This comes after the Chairman of Bayeyi Tribal Authority, Daniel Samosenene, accused the government of snubbing their paramount chief, Kgosi Seidisa, and the tribe’s desire to have him admitted to Botswana’s Upper House as a member.
According to the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kgotla Autlwetse, the process to elect a chief to Ntlo ya Dikgosi has always been the sole responsibility of magosi in their respective regions.
“For dikgosi to be at Ntlo ya Dikgosi, there has to be elections amongst themselves from their respective regions and the government has nothing to do with them,” Autlwetse said. “In fact, after a contest between those who wish to represent their regions in the House, a name is submitted to us. BaYeyi should understand that although they are in BaTawana territory, they are at liberty to have such elections, just like politicians.”
BaYeyi are not visitors in Botswana and have always known the procedure, he emphasised. The junior minister added that he is not sure whether BaYeyi ever had a candidate for the Upper House but should keep on trying to have one. “You will also understand that, for instance, the North East region had Kgosi Maruje before but the region has now elected Kgosi Mosojane,” he pointed out.
Asked whether the long standing stand-off on bogosi between BaTawana and BaYeyi could be a factor, Minister Autlwetse said tensions exist where there is more than one tribe in a region. “There are tensions everywhere between tribes and it is upon those tribes to resolve their issues because it is not always advisable for the government to intervene,” he said. “The government long recognized the BaYeyi when Vice President Slumber Tsogwane was the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.”
But the Chairman of BaYeyi Tribal Authority, Samosenene recently said they wrote to the government on many occasions about having their own paramount chief, Kgosi Seidisa, as a member of Ntlo ya Dikgosi. “We have written to the government more than four times since 2019 and that promise has not been met,” he said. “But we will not give up.”
In 2017, a scheduled coronation of a BaYeyi paramount chief failed after BaTawana regent, Kealetile Moremi, said BaYeyi could not have a paramount chief because they are under BaTawana.
It is understood that the government is in a dilemma because recognizing BaYeyi as a tribe in their own right would carry the concomitant of creating new boundaries in order for BaYeyi to have their own territory.
This is an issue that dates back to colonial times. Bechuanaland became a British protectorate in 1885 and the British authorities subsequently recognized only eight tribes under the Chieftainship Act. These were BaRolong, BaKwena, BaNgwaketse, BaLete, BaKgatla, BaTlokwa, BaNgwato and BaTawana.