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‘Bogadi is not Setswana culture’ – KgosiKwena Sebele

Yvonne Mooka

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Bogadi or bride’s price is not part of the Setswana culture according to former Bakwena regent also former president of the Customary Court of Appeal KgosiKwena Sebele. Reacting to The Midweek Sun article BOGADI MUST FALL, that appeared on the September 26, 2018 edition, Kgosi Sebele told this publication in a telephone call:

“I always tell people that Bogadi does not feature anywhere in our culture. You guys should stop consulting wrong people about this issue. Look at how people don’t marry these days over Bogadi which has got nothing to do with us!” he said, and invited The Midweek Sun for an interview on the matter. When The Midweek Sun team visited him at his homestead in Molepolole, the traditionalist was very straight-forward. “I want someone to come forward and challenge me after reading what I’m about to tell you now. People have been ripped off, it’s enough. Bogadi ga se Setswana,” said the free-spirit.

The 73-year-old man says that growing up, he made use of his forefathers and parents and learnt Setswana history from them. He states that Kgosi KgariSechele I should be blamed for the introduction of Bogadi. “He had many wives, possibly more than five and concubines, something that did not sit well with missionaries around 1885. They told him it was a taboo and that as a Christian convert, he had to abandon all the women and remain with only one. Other believers followed suit and renounced polygamy,” he says.

He adds that according to the Setswana culture, when a young man shows signs of puberty and an interest in a young woman, arrangements are made for the two to be kept inside a hut where they are supposed to have sex and it is done to check whether they will conceive. He calls this the “Fencing period” or Engagement in the modern English. He says that if during that fencing period, the couple manages to have a child, when the elder goes to ask for “Sego”, or for the girl’s hand in marriage, her family would be thanked with a cow.

The tribal leader says that the number of cows is determined by the number of children. “The charging of eight cows and whatever is happening is not our culture but selfishness. “In our culture, men go first to ask for the girl’s hand in marriage and then women saying baya go kopa metsi. From there, the family would say to us, ‘ke ao a nweng mme lo re gadimeng kantata ya gore go na le ngwana kana bana.’ From there, they come with the cow or cows based on the number of children. Then the couple is married. What is lawful, he says, is Patlo ya banna le basadi.

His take is that Batswana have lost their culture. “That’s why there are two contracts. People do both the Common Law and Customary Law marriages, which is total confusion. It’s like getting married twice. “Choose the one you want, and decide as a couple not external influence. Weddings are done to show off. Couples are in debts because of demands like Bogadi. Girls will remain single for a long time,” he warns, adding that Bogadi has even turned into business.

Citing a case he once handled, he says a woman from Ramotswa once said she was divorcing her husband because he wanted too much sex from her. “The man in turn said he wanted his cows back because monna yo o nkgang o nkga le ditsagagwe, and I endorsed his request,” he says. His advice is that Batswana should go back to the crossroads. “Molao sekhutlo, morwa mmoelwa yo o sa boelweng ke maleng,” he says.

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I broke the law in good faith – Moswaane

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YES I ERRED: Ignatius Moswaane is weary of some within his party, BDP.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane, has his electorates behind him. The maverick MP has recently found himself on the wrong side of the law after circulating a graphic video clip on social media depicting a woman in South Africa being brutally knifed to death.

At a consultative meeting with his constituents at the Leseding Hall on Saturday, he explained that his action was done in good faith. “I am a member of the SADC committee that deals with issues of abuse and harassment relating to women and children. I shared the video on facebook with our parliamentary group. This was to bring about awareness amongst ourselves on gender violence and brutality against women,” he said to the bemused audience. Moswaane, who admitted that he broke the law, swears that, the video was leaked deliberately by his enemies in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to put him into trouble with the law and jeopardise his political career.

The outspoken legislator claimed that when he shared a similar video of an unnamed country in the past, he achieved the desired results because the SADC committee he is a member of, took up the matter and an investigation was made. According to recent media reports, the MP has been viewed with suspicion of disloyalty to President Mokweetsi Masisi given the ongoing feud the state president has with his predecessor Ian Khama. Those looking at him with suspicion have suggested that he was loyal to Khama who is leading a crusade to topple Masisi from power at the general elections this year.

According to Moswaane, some with vested interests in the BDP want him out of the race for Francistown West constituency so that their preferred candidate may contest in his place. “I do not think it is the party. Maybe it is just some individuals in a faction within the party.” After the video was leaked, BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi issued a statement expressing dismay at the circulating video.

The MP however, does not see the video clip incident in isolation. He is convinced that considering his motive of sensitising people of the brutal act, he should have been warned instead of being arrested and his cell phone taken away from him. “It is clear that DIS is looking for something else in my cell phone which has got nothing to do with the video,” said Moswaane who accused the spy agency, DIS and his political opponents in the BDP of working against him. During question and comments time, a woman who introduced herself only as Senjoba, called for financial support for Moswaane should he need the services of a lawyer.

Another speaker, Moalosi said that what was happening to the MP was an indication that no one is safe. “The opposition has always said that DIS is used for witch-hunting. It shows we are also not protected,” he said. Olebile Motsamai called on the people to protect their MP. “As the electorate, you know what to do to end these things,” said Motsamai. The legislator

recounted a number of instances where some of his constituents have come to confess to him that DIS had offered them money to help frame him but they refused. This is not the first time that the MP has accused DIS of being used for political ends. The head of the spy agency, Peter Magosi has, in the past, rubbished Moswaane’s claims that he is being followed.

Moswaane’s collision with the BDP leadership is not new as he has also clashed with the leadership of former president Khama. In 2009 Moswaane contested and won Monarch south ward as an independent candidate after rejecting the primary election results which he found controversial.

In 2013 he and the BDP were disqualified from contesting a by-election by the Independent Electoral Commission. This was after the party had neglected to hear Whyte Marobela who had challenged the primary election results involving himself and Moswaane.

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BEWARE THE BPF

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NOT TRUSTED: The BNF veterans body does not trust anything with BDP roots

Botswana National Front (BNF) Veterans Association is cautioning the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to “tread carefully” regarding a possible working relationship with newly-formed Botswana Patrictic Front (BPF).

“UDC has to tread carefully because BDP never changes and the opposition never learns,” said the Association’s Chairman Patrick Kgoadi ahead of their meeting this weekend.The BPF is the latest breakaway offspring of the ruling party and is backed by a number of former BDP’s disgruntled members among them former president Ian Khama, former minister Biggie Butale and Tati East MP Guma Moyo. At a recent meeting in Serowe, Khama confirmed the membership of Moyo while over this past weekend, Butale insinuated that former minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi was also a member of the new party.

Kgoadi said even though it might be seen to be a good thing to work with BPF, the opposition should vigorously scrutinise the party and its intended purpose as the relationship could backfire and cost the opposition victory in the national polls. The purpose of the Saturday meeting is to discuss the collapsed structures of BNF, preparations for 2019 general elections, developments at UDC and formation of new party BPF.

According to Kgoadi, they have observed that the BNF structures are not as active as they should be especially during the election year.“Our structures used to be more active on election year. This year things are just blurry and this is worrisome. Even at UDC level BNF should be playing a leading role not only in the presidency but across the country. “We always have to be taking a leading role as a party that plays a significant role in uniting opposition parties.

“So as veterans we would be discussing these issues and how we could advise both the BNF and UDC leadership,” said Kgoadi. The veterans have since the formation of the association been at loggerheads with the BNF Central Committee on how things are run both at the BNF and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The veterans have thus been accused by the party leadership of always blowing things out of proportion and failing to use proper party channels when discussing internal matters.

BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa has on several occasions pointed out that the veterans have served the party for long and should know processes and procedures to be followed when addressing internal matters. He expressed concern that the veterans always use channels that are not sanctioned by the party and its constitution. Kgoadi said the BNF central committee has for long been disingenuous and refused to meet them since 2017.

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