FRANCISTOWN: Kopano Maruping, a political nomad who had aspired to trade his political gear for tribal garbs has stated reasons why the powers-that-be developed chicken feet at the thought of appointing him Tati Siding deputy chief.
The former politician was chosen by the people of Tati Siding village to deputise the current village chief, Simon Nkgageng.
He was elected through a ballot on December 12, 2017 to become Nkgageng’s assistant.
Asked about the issue recently, the former activist of the Botswana People’s Party (BPP), Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) told The Monitor: “I am not aware that there was a Kgotla meeting where members of the public were informed by the relevant authorities that I am prohibited from becoming Kgosi Nkgageng’s assistant. Nobody from the government has told me about that. I am currently in Gaborone in connection with my fingerprints that were taken by the police from myself many years back”.
Maruping said after he won the election that was used to determine who would be Nkgageng’s deputy, tribal affairs officials asked him if he had committed any criminal offence in the past and was fingerprinted.
Maruping said he answered in the affirmative, adding that the officials then advised him to apply for a presidential pardon because he could not resume his official duties if he was fingerprinted before or after being found guilty of having committed a criminal offence. He explained that “in 1984, a charge of common assault was laid against me. It was in relation to an incident in which I assaulted a boy who had stolen our family donkey. The police took my fingerprints, but I was later acquitted and discharged of the offence…
Even though I was discharged of the offence, I heeded the advice of the tribal authorities and on December 27, 2017, I wrote a letter to the Office of the President (OP) asking to be pardoned. I am currently in Gaborone making a follow up
A councillor within the North East District (NEDC) told The Monitor on Friday that after Maruping was barred from becoming Nkgageng’s deputy, another election was supposed to be held on March 23, but the election was postponed till further notice. The source said the elections were probably postponed to allow the local government minister and the President to painstakingly look into the letter that he wrote to the duo.
The North East District Council tribal secretary who is said to be privy to reasons why the elections were postponed referred The Monitor to the local government ministry.They were not reachable at the time of going to press.
According to the Bogosi Act, a person who is appointed to be a tribal leader or his deputy should not have committed any criminal offence, nor can be barred by age from assuming chieftainship responsibilities.The Act says that the Minister may permit a Kgosi who has attained the age of 80 to continue in office for such period as he or she (minister) may consider appropriate.
Section 10 of the Bogosi Act reads: “(1) A Kgosi may, with the approval of the Minister, and after consultation with his or her tribe at a Kgotla meeting, may appoint any person as Mothusa Kgosi and such appointment shall be published in the Gazette.
(2) No person shall be appointed as Mothusa Kgosi unless the Kgosi and the Minister are satisfied that that person possesses attributes which qualify him or her to be so appointed… .”