This week’s announcement by Kgosi Tawana Moremi that he is quitting politics came as a piercing bolt to his tribe which has been banking on him to advance their interests. His first step was to resign from the Umbrella for Democratic Change on Monday, which means he is now sitting as an independent MP. Some members of the royal family have been left shocked by the developments since Tawana had promised to consult his people before taking steps to resign. Charles Letsholathebe – Batawana Senior Chief Representative – told this publication that he doesn’t want to discuss Tawana resignation with the press. “I don’t want to talk about this issue since we also heard from the news. Tawana has not consulted us about this; so i won’t comment,” fumed Letsholathebe. Batawana are unhappy with Tawana decision to quit politics as he has not informed them formally. It is also alleged that Kgosi Tawana is not someone who consults people when he takes key decisions. “Even when he left BDP he did not consult anyone as he announced the decision later at a Kgotla meeting that he has left the party,” a source said. An elder from the royal family, who did not want to be identified, said that they have been shocked by Tawana’s decision. “Tawana is not someone who consults but when he left Bogosi he informed us although there was resistance from us,” a source said. A councillor, who preferred anonymity, said Tawana’s resignation was a big blow to the opposition and Ngamiland at large. He said that his resignation from UDC comes at a time when all opposition parties have united to form a united block to topple the ruling party in 2019 general elections. He has a great impact in the opposition politics and he commands huge respect in Ngamiland; so it’s a big loss, the councillor said. Kgosi Tawana Moremi‘s resignation from UDC shocked party loyalists and Ngamiland residents who had high confidence in him.
A graduate of Business Law from the UK, Tawana quit his job at Debswana to be installed as Paramount Chief of Batawana in 1995, taking the reins from Kgosi Mathiba who acted as Paramount Chief between 1981 and 1995. He commanded high respect from his tribesmen and aggressively advocated for improvement of their lives. Later Tawana quit Ntlo ya Dikgosi and joined politics, winning elections for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in 2009. However he ditched the party in 2011 to join the then newly formed Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) after being an independent MP for some few months. Though his businesses (butchery in Maun) suffered thereafter, he did not look back as he enjoyed the political limelight in the opposition. He won the second term in 2014 with a huge margin.
Tawana‘s voice in Parliament has been loud in advocating for the protection of his tribe’s tourism interests in Ngamiland. He protested government’s tendency of claiming Batawana land, blaming Tawana Land Board and President Ian Khama for this. In 2014 some 13 tourism sites within the Okavango Delta were transferred from Tawana Land board to the Central Government. This included Moremi Game Reserve. The decision escalated the feud between Batawana and Government over ownership of both Moremi Game Reserve and Maun Educational Park. Batawana, with Tawana at the forefront, believe these sites were acquired illegally. Batawana have unanimously agreed to sue government for this.