The opposition has accused the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) of fueling tribalism in the Boteti region where it dominates. For years now, sources within the opposition politics in the Boteti region have hinted that tribalism has reportedly had unfettered access into the selection of both parliamentary and local government candidates in the area, thanks to Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is allegedly planning to launch a campaign aimed at dealing with tribalism in Boteti. “The sub-district of Boteti is a cosmopolitan area where people from all walks of life are found in the area, thanks to the economic opportunities brought about the mining activities in the region,” said Lebonetse Bolokang, a Botswana National Front (BNF) activist in the area. Bolokang said he participated in the past two general elections but failed to make a mark in his bid due to rife tribalism. The Bakhurutse tribe is regarded as the only kinfolk deserved with positions of authority in the area thereby depriving the area quality leadership, he said. According to Bolokang, the region deserves more developments as it is one of the poorest areas in the country, lamented Bolokang. “The rest of Boteti is a cattle post. Herdboys are taking centre-stage in an area where diamond sorters and jewellery makers should be ruling the roost,” said Bolokang, adding that diamond sorting factories should have been positioned in Boteti if the area had quality representatives.
For his part, Khwee ward councilor Keiketlile Gobotswang said tribalism is rife in Letlhakane and the rest of Boteti where only the Bakhurutse tribe is deemed to be eligible for a political leadership roles. “The situation compromises the quality of leadership and disfranchises other citizens,” said Gobotswang, who is a member of the BNF. He said he was subjected to derogatory names and insults during 2014 general elections campaign. “Non-Bakhurutse are treated as second class citizens in Letlhakane. We are called foreigners in this area (of Boteti). And the BDP is the one at the helm of the issue,” said Gobotswang in hushed tones. Gobotswang added: “Currently opposition parties are also frantically looking for these tribesmen and women of (Bakhurutse) to field, as it is believed no other tribe will prevail in an election of any sort. But the problem is that the quality is compromised.”
Gobotswang said the BDP has made it a point that all community leadership structures by people from Bakhurutse tribe even Village Development Committee (VDC). He said others seem to have resigned to the tribalism concept for the sake of winning an election. Endless efforts to get a comment form the BDP Boteti Regional chairperson Chippa Makula drew a blank, as he was not answering his mobile phone while all the two parliamentarians Slumber Tsogwane and Lelatisitswe Sethomo were not available. In 2014, Sethomo sounded more like an apostate than a ruling BDP activist. During his launch after trouncing former MP Lebonaamang Mokalake, Sethomo suggested that Boteti region must benefit more from diamonds than the rest of the country.