Khama’s ghost

Kabelo Dipholo
  • Khama/Masisi feud leaves Tswapong royal in limbo

Although it’s over four years since he stepped down as President, and is currently in self-exile in South Africa, former President, Ian Khama remains an intriguing topic in the public discourse.

Like a ghost, his name has lingered on, cropping up where least expected.

The Khama name has once again been mentioned in a bizarre bogosi dispute in Ramokgonami, a small, usually sleepy village in the Tswapong region.

Kgosi Terone Keobonye of Bopedi-Majadibodu ward is at his wits end.

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When The Voice paid him a visit a week ago, the tribal leader cut a lonely and troubled figure.

“Just like other Headmen of Arbitration, I should be remunerated. My ward was submitted, but somebody else’s name was also submitted instead of me,” he said.

Koobonye said when government secured funds to remunerate Headmen of Arbitration in 2018, five out of the 15 wards in Ramokgonami were submitted, and his was top of the list.

The royal, however, got a shock when he didn’t receive pay month-end when the roll-out began in 2019.

“Mothibi Seabelo of Bopedi Mangading was instead remunerated,” he said.

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Koobonye said at first he thought this was an honest mistake which would quickly be rectified.

However, today he remains a cashless tribal leader while his salary is credited into the wrong account.

The aggrieved royal now believes there are forces out to get him, inventing tales of his ‘criminal past’, even using someone else’s fingerprints to implicate him.

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“The whole idea was to insure that I was not paid my dues. After investigations it was found that the fingerprints belonged to an Afrikaner, Karrel Haff, who was charged with hunting animals without a permit. I was cleared.”

Khama's ghost

He is adamant there are people willing to do anything to ensure he never receives a Thebe for his role as the leader of Bataung in Ramokgonami.

“At first I thought it could be due to my political history. I stood for Parliamentary elections in 2009 under the Botswana National Front (BNF) ticket,” he said.

“I later learnt that my biggest sin was welcoming former President Ian Khama and his delegation in a gathering the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) had here. I wasn’t even aware that there was an order not to welcome him,” cried Koobonye.

After knocking at the Department of Tribal Administration, his matter was finally heard at Ramokgonami Customary Court on 10 June 2020 with Kgosi Serogola Seretse presiding.

In his ruling, Seretse confirmed Koobonye and not Seabelo should receive a monthly salary, and that he should receive his dues with immediate effect from 1st August.

“That was in 2020, nothing has happened. Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamame also wrote to the Director to remind him, but no one is willing to assist me. People are hiding behind President Masisi’s name and bringing in Khama into an issue he knows nothing about. There’s a court order and someone out there is ignoring it,” charged Koobonye.

The Voice is in possession of all the correspondences between Koobonye and the relevant authorities, including Office of the President.

The Voice contacted Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kgotla Autlwetse about the matter, who referred the issue to his Permanent Secretary (PS), deeming it to be an administrative matter.

A questionnaire was sent to PS Molefi Keaja last Wednesday, but he was yet to respond by the time of going to print a week later.

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