• Lotlaamoreng a longtime BNF member
• Leaves Barolong guessing his future plans
Barolong paramount chief Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II is expected to resign from Ntlo ya Dikgosi in the current session, in preparation to be launched as the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidate for the vacant Goodhope/ Mabule constituency.
Should Lotlaamoreng II win the looming by-election, he will join other paramount chiefs in parliament being President Ian Khama of Bangwato and Tawana Moremi of Batawana. He announced his resignation from bogosi in a packed Goodhope kgotla on June 16.
The chilly weather of June 16, 2015 did not deter Barolong to throng their kgotla in big numbers but not to celebrate the day of the African Child rather to hear what their paramount chief Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II had to say to them. There has been speculation that the Barolong chief will relinquish his chieftainship for political office.
The cold air at Goodhope kgotla was pregnant with speculation that Lotlaamoreng who has presided over the Barolong tribe for 14 years was about to drop the bombshell on the packed kgotla but Barolong were in for a surprise. At around 0930 hours, the frail looking yet youthful Lotlaamoreng arrived in Kgotla accompanied by his paternal uncles Botiki Motshegare and Galaxy Marumola and councilor for Goodhope Olopeng Modibedi.
The opening prayer set the tone of what to expect from the comments as the pastor asked God to clear their ears so that they hear what their kgosi was going to tell them. The Master of Ceremony Kgosi Galaxy Marumola appealed to the packed kgotla to be tolerant of each other during questions and comments and called upon deputy chief Motshegare to brief morafe on what they had for them. Kgosi Motshegare did not waste much time, informing them that their paramount chief has approached them and asked to relinquish his chieftainship in order to represent them at a better forum.
The deputy chief who was dilly dallying with words added that they have rumours in the media that their chief was joining politics but said that those are just rumors. “Mme re ya go kiba kiba ha morago ga gagwe gongwe le gongwe ko a yang teng (We are going to follow him wherever he is going),” he said.
It was clear that the emotional keg was beginning to shake as the murmurings increased as Kgosi Motshegare failed to inform Morafe where their chief was going. The keg sprang open during the questions and comments time as most of Barolong wanted to know where their chief was going. “When you say that we are going to follow Morolong wherever he is going, you’re now confusing us because he has not told us where he is heading to,” said an elderly man.
An elderly woman who said that she is a member of the royal family Tsebente Tshotedi cautioned Kgosi Lotlamoreng’s uncles for leading their chief astray, “re tla botsa borangwane gore ngwana wa rona o ile kae,” she said as she wrapped herself in a blanket.
At that moment, Kgosi Marumola gave Kgosi Lotlaamoreng who was consulting with Goodhope councilor Modibedi, who is also the only Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) councilor in the Goodhope/Mabule constituency, to address his subjects. “I am intending to step down as your chief because I want to rest and pursue other private and personal life and therefore asking for your permission,” he said adding that in the event that there is any new development in his life while he has stepped down relevant people will inform Morafe.
Before he could sit down almost a quarter of the kgotla raised their hands amidst murmurings on the answer given by their paramount chief. It seems Kgosi Lotlaamoreng’s answer opened a can of worms as he and his uncles were heckled by the speakers who feel that they were taking them for granted. “As much as we appreciate the consultation by the uncles and having no problems with our chief taking leave from office we are worried that you’re not clear where he is going making it difficult for us to commit on following him,” said a frustrated elderly man.
An elderly man Augustine Sebolai registered his reservation regarding the announcement noting that the senior uncle to Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II, Kgosi Jeff Kgotleng Montshiwa who was the rightful person to make the announcement was not there as well as the queen mother. “This just looks like a kangaroo gathering because most of our customs have not been followed and I humbly ask that we postpone this meeting until all the relevant people are here,” he said amid ululations and clapping of hands.
A young man who identified himself as Motlhake Sebolai said that he sees malice in Kgosi Lotlaamoreng’s relinquishing of power noting that he suspect that there is a third force behind it. “You are known to be an eloquent speaker but today you have shocked us because you are struggling to express yourself,” he said that adding that it is unheard of for a lawyer to fail to address his audience.
He said that they were afraid that if it true that Lotlaamoreng is joining politics, he is going to endure insults something they are not comfortable with.
Lotlaamoreng is a lawyer by profession having trained at North West University and graduating in 2000 and assumed chieftainship in 2001. Another contentious issue for Barolong was that they don’t know who will act for their paramount as he went to rest and attend to his private life.
Responding to his tribe’s concerns, Lotlaamoreng who by then has gained confidence stuck to his guns that he cannot reveal where he was going and advanced that he is not the first chief to ask for some time from chieftainship. “Kgosi Khama of Bangwato, Kgosi Tawana of Batawana and Kgosi Bathoen of Bangwaketse have once asked permission from their subjects to pursue their other interest and it is not something unheard of,” said the now agitated deputychairman of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi. “Heela ra re o ya kae lesa go bua ka diteme (stop talking in tongues, where are you going),” hit out a dissent voice from the crowd.
“Ntlogeleng ke ye go ipereka ga nke ke le botsa gore le ipereka le dira eng (leave me alone to go and pursue my private life and I have never asked you what you are doing in your private life),” the now shaking Barolong Paramount Chief hit out at his heckler.
On the absence of his senior uncle, Lotlaamoreng informed Barolong that he has consulted him but was held up by other pressing matters in South Africa hence his absence.
Regarding the issue of being insulted if he joins politics, Lotlaamoreng said that he is ready to be insulted as it will not be the first time he faced that situation. At the end Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II informed the packed kgotla that he has appointed his deputy, Kgosi Motshegare to be the regent while still pursuing personal interest.
In a brief interview with members of the press, Kgosi Lotlaamoreng was at pains denying that he is joining politics saying that should he be approached by any political party he will consider the offer. Asked if it is not coincidence that he resigns from the chieftainship as the same time when the Goodhope/Mabule constituency is currently vacant, he said “yes there is but is not connected to my resignation.”
Put to him that Kgosi Motshegare indicated to Morafe that he is going to represent them at a much better forum; the Barolong chief denied ever asking him to say that. “I never instructed him to say that and was surprised as much as you were,” he said with a grin smile.
He admitted that he has always been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF) but has not been renewing his membership for a long time. There has been a concern that he is becoming a servant of his own words as he once advised Bangwaketse chief Kgosi Malope to desist from joining politics but in defence he said that he has since changed his attitude towards politicians.
Regarding the resignation of the area Member of Parliament James Mathokgwane who was close to him, the outgoing Barolong chief said that he (Mathokgwane) never informed him that he is quitting politics. “I only learned that in the media but he would later call me informing me that what I read in papers about his resignation is true,” said the soft spoken chief.