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PUFFING THE PEACE PIPE? Kgosi Kebuelemang

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Batawana Tribal Authority mediate in Mababe feud

A delegation of four tribal leaders set-up camp in the small village of Mababe last week in an attempt to find a peaceful resolution to a long-standing feud that threatens to rip the community apart.

The rivalry, which has led to bloodshed, stems from a disagreement between the Community Development Trust and the village chief, Kgosi Kgosikemontle Kebuelemang.

Delegated by Batawana regent, Kgosi Kealetile Moremi, the four chiefs: Kgosi Dingalo, Kgosi Mogalakwe, Kgosi Ledimo and Kgosi Pringle Dingalo, held meetings throughout Tuesday and Wednesday in desperate search of a lasting resolution to the tension.

“They are here to resolve the long standing conflict,” confirmed Kgosi Kebuelemang, taking a quick breather from Tuesday’s meeting.

The private sessions were conducted in batches, with Village Development Committee, another with selected elders and yet another with the board of trustees of Mababe Zokotshama Community Development Trust.

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On Wednesday morning, all the groups gathered for one meeting, which again took place behind closed doors.

“This meeting is basically an arbitration effort by Batawana tribal administration. As you know we are a small village yet so divided,” explained Kebuelemang further.

He said as a small community, they are blood relatives but due to their rich land, outsiders have infiltrated them, using money to divide them.

Although Kebuelemang was optimistic the conflict would be resolved, some board members who were at the kgotla did talk about wanting to oust him from chieftaincy, even labelling him ‘a trouble maker’.

Tension in Mababe started in 2019 after the Trust sold its hunting quota of 20 elephants to a local safari company, African Field Sports (AFS) instead of auctioning it to allow other interested companies to bid for the quota as agreed in an earlier Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Although the board felt it was fair and more rewarding to deal with their past immediate concessioner, AFS, rather than bringing a new company, Kebuelemang and some community members including area Councillor, Kebareeditse Ntsogotho supported the AGM consensus.

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The division became so heated that Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane had to appoint a Task Force, which included among others, Kgosi Kealetile Moremi, to look into the matter.

Although the task team found the signing of the agreement to be irregular, the Ministry of Minerals, Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism ordered for the agreement to go ahead since it had already been signed.

Further, the Task Force’s report attributed much of the division to Kebuelemang.

At the end of the meetings on Wednesday afternoon, the two warring factions were said to have reached an agreement to work together going forward as a united and peaceful community. It seems the peace has finally come to Mababe………for now!

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