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PACKED: Tloaneng residents gathered in their numbers
PACKED: Tloaneng residents gathered in their numbers

Tloaneng torn over rightful Chief

Called in to diffuse the situation, Bakwena Paramount Chief, Kgosi Kgari Sechele inadvertently added to the flames at a heated Kgotla meeting over the chieftainship in Tloaneng on Wednesday.

Trouble has been brewing in the Kweneng East village, located roughly 20km from Gaborone, since March 2020 when, after 31 years in the hot seat, Kgosi Khuduge Kagiso announced he was stepping down.

The outgoing chief named his son, Joseph Kagiso as his successor.

This did not sit well with the Dikole family, who insist Khuduge was only filling in as Kgosi and maintain Kgwatlha Dikole – the son of the late Mmokele Dikole – is in fact the rightful heir to the throne.

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PREACHING PEACE: Bakwena Paramount Chief, Kgosi Kgari

PREACHING PEACE: Bakwena Paramount Chief, Kgosi Kgari

Voicing his displeasure at the packed consultation meeting, Kgwatlha’s uncle, William Dikole, explained the dispute dates back to 1989 when Khuduge first ascended to the village’s most sacred position.

“We were told he would hold the position temporarily for five years while the rightful heir was being sought,” claimed William, his comments greeted with a mixed reaction from the divided audience.

Giving those in attendance a history lesson, William stated that when the people of Tloaneng first settled in the village, Mmiga Michael Dikole was the chief of Batlhaping, who passed the crown to his brother Mmokele.

“We were surprised in 2014, when Kgosi Thobega of Makgodi told us Khuduge is now our permanent headman of record. As a family, we wrote letters to Kgosi Kgari, the Permanent Secretary of Local Government and the Director of Tribal but never got help. We went to Molepolole looking for the minutes when Khuduge was appointed in 1989 and couldn’t find them.”

SEEKING ANSWERS: Kgwatlha Dikole

SEEKING ANSWERS: Kgwatlha Dikole

After a lengthy deliberation, Kgosi Kgari asked the villagers to vote on who they wanted as their chief: Kgwatlha or Joesph.

It was a suggestion that drew fire from the Dikole camp. Their incensed followers accused the Paramount Chief of plotting with the Kagisos, insisting he warned them of his intention to call a vote so that they pre-packed the kgotla with their supporters.

“Kgosi Kgari is wrong. This was supposed to be a consultative meeting not for voting our new chief. If you do not want us in Tloaneng, give us the land that we can relocate to and we resume the bodies of our late parents. You are taking sides! This is not fair!” was one stinging criticism directed at the Bakwena boss.

With tempers nearing boiling point, the hot-potato was left pending.

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