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Cops take Tawana to Sbrana

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 24 January 2017   |   By Staff Writer
Kgosikgolo Tawana Moremi II Kgosikgolo Tawana Moremi II

Controversy over the well-being of Batawana paramount chief Kgosikgolo Tawana II has spiralled out of control, with widespread heated outbursts from his tribesmen, fellow opposition members and political enemies. The controversial debate has been raging on social media, with some posts and comments speculating that Tawana is unfit to hold office and should relinquish his position as the MP for Maun West. Some pained by the possibility of losing Tawana as their MP have been venting out anger and spitting venom on Facebook due frustration and increasing desperation. A valuable asset to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) when he defected from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Tawana's performance has in recent past fizzled out from bruising encounters with the ruling party majority on the floor of  Parliament, reduced to a bystander and a disinterested member. Amidst growing speculation about his condition, Tawana dropped a bombshell late last year when he announced that he was planning to quit politics before the 2019 General elections. Ever since then, the noose is tightening around UDC to find a replacement for Tawana or convince him to stay in politics. Sources in Maun said the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) is running helter skelter in an attempt to save the situation by identifying a replacement, should Tawana go through with his decision. On the other hand, the BDP hounds are smelling blood and have gone on overdrive to campaign in Tawana's backyard. Already four aspiring candidates in the looming 2017 Bulela Ditswe are said to be jostling for positions and fine tuning their campaigns in readiness for vetting in March. North West District Council chairman, Reaboka Mbulawa – the man Tawana humiliated with a margin of 1 936 votes in 2014 – already fancies his chances and is salivating at the opportunity.

On Monday afternoon one Tiego Jordan Mpho, a niece to former prominent opposition politician Motsamai Mpho of Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM), penned an open missive to his 'King' pleading with him to give his people a sober and sound mind. "That’s all your people require of you. To those of us who know, O! What a mind that is! Give us that and there is nothing your people will not do for you and with you Marco Steve [Tawana’s Facebook name]. For that to happen, you must be willing to do at least two things: 1) you will acknowledge your weaknesses and problems, 2) you will ask for help from us no matter how difficult that may be. Promise us that Marco Steve and the future suddenly becomes bright and orange again...In this, I know I speak for many and yearn for many and love for many more too, even those dearly departed," wrote Mpho. Trained as a lawyer, the chief-turned-politician made headlines late last year when he started behaving strangely, and his unusually casual dress code in parliament, sparking calls for intervention from his party - the UDC. The once charismatic leader has fallen from grace, due to a suspected depression occasioned by immense stress. At one point Tawana was reported to have been whisked away by UDC deputy president Ndaba Gaolathe to a rehabilitation resort in the neighbouring South Africa. While there Tawana posted on his facebook page - Marco Steve - about his battle with what he terms "essential tremors". His Facebook posts have attracted over 36 000 conversations on cyber-space. Going by the sobriquet, Marco Steve, Tawana posted to Matsaakgang regiment on January 11 at 9:49pm that he is being threatened in his our own house – that is Parliamentary Village. A day later he wrote: "Resigning from the UDC is termed "depression". I am not a gangster, never will be", before following it up with another on January 14 declaring that; "I am not owned by anybody, Ndaba Gaolathe or Duma Boko, try me..."

Tawana confirmed on Friday that his decision to quit still stands. He said although at the time of the interview he had not made formal communication to his party - the BMD and UDC – he is planning to do so in the near future.  "Yes, I am quitting politics and I won't be running for office in the next elections. I will be talking to them (Maun West constituents and the party leadership) soon. The plan was to go out to the constituency and announce to the people in the first quarter of 2017, but now here you are," he said. Tawana confirmed that he was recently accosted by some police officers and bundled into the back of a van before being transported to Lobatse where he spent hours interviewed by medical personnel at Sbrana Psychiatric hospital. Asked who had ordered his arrest he said; "You can ask those at Sbrana why I was there. I was interviewed for about six hours". He declined to comment on his Facebook posts where he makes reference to BMD and UDC presidents Ndaba Gaolathe and Duma Boko respectively, saying he was in a hurry to a football match. When quizzed about the UDC's position on Tawana's decision to quit and comments about their leadership, party spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa said their contracting partner (BMD) is best placed to comment on the issue. "We have not received any correspondence to that effect; nothing has been brought to our attention regarding any resignation. As far as we are concerned there is nothing," he said.

Meanwhile Mohwasa dismissed threat from the BDP in general and Bulela Ditswe 2017 in particular, but said they are monitoring political developments in the country with keen interest to protect their turf. He said the 2014 General Elections have demonstrated that the BDP has lost popularity, is becoming irrelevant and does not mean anything to Batswana. Mohwasa said they are confident of winning the two council by-elections over the weekend to send a clear message to the BDP that between now and 2019 it is only a descend for them. He said: "What we are bothered about is how to channel the energy, growing enthusiasm and aspirations of Batswana so that we do not disappoint them after 2019. The fact that opposition parties are now working together has given new energy and hope to those people who were about to give up hope on local politics. There will be a dramatic increase in people who will vote for opposition in 2019 because people are happy about the seamless negotiations, which culminated in a united opposition". On the threat of vote rigging through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), which the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has confirmed will be procured from Bharat Electronics of India and used in 2019 elections, Mohwasa said the UDC is meeting soon to discuss the issue and pave the way forward. He, however, said they support any development challenging the legality of EVMs including the lawsuit filed by the BCP against government. He reiterated that they have already joined forces with the BCP to hold demonstrations and petitions against EVM. "We will continue to protest the use of EVMs, or where they are used they should be foolproof," he said.

Mpho's letter

Dear Marco Steve, a plethora of innuendo and conjecture about your physical and mental wellbeing is currently filling up the corridors of cyber-space. There are some (mostly clad in red) inwardly celebrating and hoping that whatever is going on about you signals your demise. Some pained by the possibility of losing you as the potent political actor you have been are just angry, increasingly feeling desperate and will spit venom at you on facebook solely out of that despair. Forgive them and hold no grudges. I must say, the majority of us your people are in a condition more akin to bewilderment. We don't really know what is going on and most importantly how we can help which is why some of us are now taking to a platform less fitted to addressing a King, for that’s what you are first and foremost. This group unconditionally loves both you (and your children) and the district you preside over by birthright. A district we all love to call home. To this group, your success is their success and your failure is their failure. But is failure really an option for us especially at this critical juncture of time? I say Nay! You have recently been adamant that you will not be standing as an MP in 2019. The truth of the matter is it doesn’t really matter. Your power to organize and lead was never predicated upon political office. It is a gift of grace. By divine design, that power has always been a product of intelligence and selfless impulse emerging out of a sober and sound mind.

Marco Steve Posts

December 8, 2016 ·

The Kokorwe' Plan - For the 7th of December 2016, all I could manage to invest was 2 cups of coffee , a cappuccino, two doubles of Count Pushkin Vodka, a steak and kidney pie and a can of mango and orange fruitree juice and I smoked two cigars. I gravitate to Riverwalk in my morning walks because the Pick and Pay there is the only place I know in town that sells the Cigar I find enjoyable whilst being affordable for my bohoutsana pocket. And then it will the Mugg and Bean to rest my beaten self and that is where the Cappuccino came in. It went down well with my Cigar. I was not intent on being there long as I had seen four hours fly past the day before with me perched in one spot, its nice taking in the mood of shoppers with their anticipation of a whopping festive around the corner. When my guy Kaybe arrived I was now getting agitated by the summer flies so it was time to go home and set up fire, braid meat is staple for me and with my children in town, it is nice to have them over and watch them ride the street while I hang tending to the meat. Because the Wi-Fi in my particular flat never works my second born insisted we cross the road to the Parliament Recreation to connect so we did. I met a number of colleagues who had come in for lunch and went around introducing my daughters. The Son they know very well, he spends a lot of time here so he has met most of them. We shot out some time waiting for the brain fire to smolder. And then 4 Policemen walk in. "Aa ke wena Kgosi Tawana?”Ee ke nna Kgosi Tawana" . "Re kopa go go bona" " A re katoge bana Mr Policemen, re ye go buela hale". The senior of the Policemen explained they had been sent to come and fetch me and take me to Central Police Station to be interviewed by the top brass. They refused my suggestion that I cross my children over to the other side of the Parliamentary Village where I am sure the fire was ready for our lunch cookout. We were on the verge of some super quality time. I was ushered into the back of a Police single Hilux with two Constables and we went for a speed around the City. For a while I could not make out where we're going until finally I could make out the Kgale Secondary School then it was Boatle turn off, Otse, we were headed for Lobatse, sirens and all. We docked at the Sbrana Mental Hospital. I was resigned to my fate so at the back of the vehicle I had made peace with the Constable and we were talking and intriguing over societal goings on.

Disembarking at the Hospital their senior explained he had received a call from his bosses that I be taken straight to the hospital and be admitted. I was powerless against 4 officers and from the banter on the journey I could tell the guys were very much forced on to this mission, their senior seemed most keen to follow his bosses instructions to the tee. There is a photograph of a friend of mine. The photograph is all clam and serene and all the while it was flashing in my head and I chose to imbibe in that spirit and maintain calm. It worked wonders at the admission desk, and the beautiful girl filling the admission desk was bewildered at my being there. The nurse tasked with doing the admission interview was puzzled at why I was being admitted into hospital and she curtailed the interview at a point and went and called the psychiatrist on duty. Before long he was asking the Police for documentation which they could not provide. Meanwhile Police Commissioner is calling, Deputy Permanent Secretaries are calling trying to pressure the Doctor Psychiatrist fellow but the good man stood his ground. From his perspective and the notes from the nurses interview. There was no psychiatrist reason for admission. At this point I am buying time making phone calls and knew the Herboy and my mother were on their way and the Herboy had garnered legal firepower. The Doctor was adamant his hands were tied without my parents’ involvement. Government was scuttling trying to put something together and a fax finally came through quoting some "Mental Disorders Act". The Doctor was under pressure, he did a bunk on the Senior Police Officer and for whilst we could find neither him nor the attending nurse who did the admission interview. Herboy arrived with my mother, a cousin and a lawyer and we went into conference. The Doctor was clear he was not going to admit a man who was rational, clearly not insane and who had reasoning capabilities to face whatever the Police fax was claiming in a court of law. Mma Kokorwe's plan was crumbling fast, more calls were coming in and the Senior Police guy kept handing his phone to the Doctor, the young Doctor stood his ground and put his neck on the block. I am back in the Parliamentary Villa, lying on my Kingsize Government issue bed and I am now readying myself to smoke my Cigar. Bo mmaKokorwe ba tsaa dilo motho for.