- Says participating in active politics undermines integrity of bogosi
- Urges for all recognised magosi to be admitted to Ntlo ya Dikgosi
The report of the Presidential Commission of Enquiry into the Review of the Constitution of Botswana has recommended barring magosi (traditional chiefs) from active politics in order to protect the integrity of Bogosi.
In the newly-released report, the Chairman of the Commission, retired judge Maruping Dibotelo, supports the views of the public that magosi should be barred from active politics and makes a recommendation for a review of a relevant section of the constitution to that end.
“Dikgosi should be barred from contesting political office; where they participate the law should bar them from returning to bogosi,” says the report. “The commission agrees that Kgosi as Mmabatho should not be involved in politics.”
The commission revisits the oft-irksome issue of equality of Botswana’s tribes and recommend for equal representation of tribes in the country’s Upper House, Ntlo ya Dikgosi.
“The commission recommends that every Kgosi of a tribe recognised in terms of Section 3 (1) of the Bogosi Act should become a Ntlo ya Dikgosi member automatically upon recognition,” it says.
“This Section 3(1) of the Bogosi Act, which says the minister after consulting a tribal community in its kgotla, may recognise them as a tribe, does not discriminate against tribes.
“Therefore, the commission is of the view that the minister must be required to consult the tribe and that Dikgosi recognised through this provision be admitted into Ntlo ya Dikgosi.”
Participation of magosi in politics has been a controversial issue over the years. In the report, commentators object to magosi going into politics, arguing that it divides the people they lead because they are aligned to different political parties.
While the controversy goes back many years, it raged as if anew after former president Ian Khama launched an onslaught on his successor in countrywide kgotla meetings ahead of 2019 general elections, accusing President Mokgweetsi Masisi of betrayal.
Khama, Moremi, Lotlaamoreng
As the antipathy between the two worsened, Khama quit the Botswana Democratic Party and subsequently formed the Botswana Patriotic Front.
Other magosi who have been caught in the controversy include Tawana Moremi of BaTawana and Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II of BaRolong.
Kgosi Lotlaamoreng served one term in Parliament for Goodhope/Mabule under the Botswana National Front before retracing his steps to the throne in Goodhope.
Kgosi Tawana initially won the Maun parliamentary seat under the BDP before joining its offspring, the Botswana Movement for Democracy.