Botswana: Politics Divide Bogosi in Serowe

17 October 2019

The volatile relationship between Bangwato royals and Botswana government especially the presidency of Mokgweetsi Masisi came to the fore last weekend during the launch of parliamentary candidate for Serowe West, Moemedi Dijeng.

According to protocol and has become the norm paramount chiefs of any village, accompanied by the District Commissioner have to welcome a Head of State to their jurisdiction/ territory but this is not usually the case in Serowe where former President Ian Khama is the incumbent, though on leave. The acting regent of Bangwato Kgosi Serogola Seretse, who is holding fort for Khama, was nowhere to be found when Masisi visited Serowe on Saturday to launch the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary candidate, although organizers insist that he was invited officially.

The next day, on Sunday afternoon Kgosi Serogola arrived at the launch of Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) parliamentary candidate for the same constituency -Tshekedi Khama. Taking to the podium, Kgosi Serogola took a swipe at the BDP for disregarding bogosi. When welcoming BPF members at the launch of Tshekedi who is also his cousin, Kgosi Serogola said he was happy that BPF recognizes the importance of bogosi. "Just yesterday and last week a certain political party was here in Serowe and I heard that they had a political rally in Serowe but didn't see any need to invite us because maybe they don't recognize bogosi," he said.

Although he did not mention any political party by name, it was clear that he was referring to the ruling party as it had launched Dijeng the previous day and recently launched Kgotla Autlwetse in Serowe North. At both launches, President Masisi officiated while Kgosi Serogola, who is normally invited through the office of the District Commissioner did not show up. On Sunday, Serogola told BPF members that they have taken the right political path and urged them to be resolute in their principle.

BDP Communications Chairman Kagelelo Kentse maintains that Bangwato kgosi was invited to the launch of Dijeng as the President was to officiate but failed to show up. The relationship between Bangwato royals and government came to the fore during the first political meeting called by former president Ian Khama at Serowe showground. Highly placed sources have revealed that government officials especially at the Office of the President were not happy that Bangwato royals attended a political gathering. This led to Bangwato regent Sediegeng Kgamane desisting from attending some of the meetings leading to him being given leave of absence. Kgosi Serogola who has been deputizing Kgamane was appointed as acting regent.

The relationship between Serogola and government has always been on rocky ground after the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) confiscated a Land Cruiser which was bought for him by his younger brother Bakang Seretse. It is supected to be part of the proceeds of crime for which Bakang has been charged with other co-accused over the alleged looting of about P230 million from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF). Recently, during the independence celebrations in Serowe, Kgosi Serogola took a swipe at government for not respecting dikgosi, whom he said are the ones who unite Batswana.

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