- Say he violated COVID-19 protocols when he held a Kgosi installation ceremony in May
- Protest the suitability of Lekhutile as Kgosi of Mmutlane
Vexed by the suspension of the Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Sethomo Lelatisitswe, for violation of COVID-19 regulations recently, the people of Mmutlane have called for the suspension of Assistant Minister of Local Government, Kgotla Autlwetse, for hosting a ceremony to instal Kgosi Ketlareng Lekhutile of on the throne in the village on May 31.
“Honorable Autlwetse informed the residents of Mmutlane Village that he was representing the government at the event, it therefore means that ‘all animals are equal but some are more equal than others’,” the villagers’ petition reads.
They argued that President Masisi sent the minister to call a Kgotla meeting and inaugurated Lekhutile as Kgosi during the State of Public Emergency (SoPE) when all such gatherings were not allowed.
“The register for attendees shows that there were at least 120 people who attended the event while the law stipulated that Kgotla meetings were banned,” the petition went on. “The event took the whole day, exceeding the stipulated two hours for any meeting. Furthermore, meals were served at the end of the event.”
In response to questions from The Gazette, Assistant Minister Autlwetse denied ever violating COVID-19 protocols. “I have not received any complaints, hence it would be unfair of me to comment on allegations,” he said. “It would be best for them to write to me or to the Task Force who would then be able to (ask me about) violating COVID-19 protocols.”
Meanwhile, the people of Mmutlane have expressed disappointment at the governments’ decision to install Kgosi Lekhutile on the throne despite their request for time to discuss and agree on the heir among themselves first. They say Kgosi Lekhutile hails from Botalaote in Serowe, has no ward of origin in Mmutlane and has never lived in the village.
The Botswana Gazette previously reported that Justice Modiri Letsididi had set 12 May 2021 as the date for hearing the matter of Mmutlane bogosi after representatives of the respondents filed documents written in Setswana. It turns out that the hearing was postponed after government lawyers again filed documents in Setswana.
“The government attorneys were charged for delaying the case,” Albert Mogaetsho, one of the representatives of the people of Mmutlane, claimed. “They waste government funds because the judge has charged them twice for the same excuse. The case has been delayed by five months now and we are going to the Lobatse High Court on Friday (September 24) for a status hearing.”
Officer Commanding for Mahalapye District, Senior Superintendent Reuben Mphoeng, told The Botswana Gazette: “I do not know if there is anyone who was charged. There were police officers who attended the event, among them the Station Commander of Mahalapye Police. He gave me a report that it was just a small number of people that attended the event.”
In their petition, the people of Mmutlane also argued that Kgosi Lekhutile was appointed on May 31 and was immediately paid a salary despite the case pending. “In the past, government delayed paying salaries when the throne was in dispute,” said the petition.
But Kgosi Lekhutile has slammed claims that she is not the rightful heir to the throne of Mmutlane: “The people who were trying to block my installation as Kgosi are outsiders and are not a part of the Batalaote tribe,” she said in an interview. “My father, Serogola Lekhutile, was the tribal leader. The people who are trying to oust me are outsiders.”