Letter to Seretse: Bangwato seek witchdoctor to bewitch President

Sir Seretse Khama
Sir Seretse Khama

Dear Seretse. Things are very bad in Serowe. As I mentioned in my last letter that Ian is still mad at his successor, Edison’s son Mokgweetsi, I regret to inform you that tempers have now escalated beyond tantrums over state aircraft to witchcraft.

So last year, Ian fled the country and went on a self-imposed exile in South Africa. Well, he denied this saying: “I am not in exile. I did not flee the country and I am on a private visit having meetings and then visiting family and friends then I will return." But it is the fourth month now since he walked out of the country at the Martin's Drift Border, ditching his official car and leaving his state security detail dumbfounded. He keeps promising that he will be back soon. But it is not happening. He never came back. Ian did not even come for his famed Christmas event with the children of Palamaokue in Serowe – the youngsters in the village were very frustrated. But this is not about the frustrated village youths missing Christmas hampers. The family is troubled. Ian might be jailed upon his return, and he knows this.

Your son walked out of the country while he was being investigated by the Directorate of Intelligence Service (DIS) over possession of weapons of war. Wait, before you spill your drink thinking Ian is now in some illicit arms of war trade, in your beloved republic, he is still flatly denying any wrongdoing. He says the DIS is after the gifts: Guns that he received while he was still president. His toy guns. Your boy and toys. You might remember from my previous letters that this began with the fight over using state aircraft. Ian was mad that he is 'unlawfully' denied use of state aircraft despite his entitlement as prescribed by his pension package. He says the weapons of war probe is just another political witch-hunt led by the intelligence boss sent by Edison’s son because he left Domkrag and they want to 'eliminate' him.

Note that after Ian ran away, his uncles tried to help. Led by your cousin Mokhutshwane Sekgoma, they wanted to mediate between Ian and Edison’s son. They called morafe to seek a way forward and Bangwato initially suggested that a delegation of Serowe elders be sent to the Office of the President to speak with the President. The uncles were however told that the right procedure for them to meet up with the President is through the Ministry of Local Government led by a Kgotla Autlwetse from Serowe. The uncles took this as rejection and a contemptuous move by the President. They wrote to the President protesting his suggestion that the royals should first meet with a commoner, that is Autlwetse, over the private issues of their 'master' that is Kgosi Khama IV was “unacceptable on cultural fact and protocol”.

Then last week relations between Maaloso and the Office of the President plunged further into the abyss. This was caused by the dramatic arrests of your children. The DIS pounced on your twins, TK and Tony together with TK’s wife Thea, and detained them over the weekend. This, we heard, was part of the ongoing weapons of war investigation. The arrest shocked many as no one ever imagined that the children of Sir Seretse Khama, could ever be frogmarched and thrown into a detention cell in Botswana.

And that is how the witchcraft issue started. An emergency meeting was called in Serowe with a short agenda to update morafe about the arrests of your children and what could be done. Some of the speakers called for the declaration of war against those arresting your children. There were ululations as one man declared war against anyone troubling your children. And when one woman defiantly proposed that morafe should go out and seek a powerful witchdoctor to bewitch the President, once again there was applause in agreement. It was sad to watch and listen to the people of Serowe, without shame, prescribing war and witchcraft in your grandfather, the Great Khama III’s kgotla. It looks like morafe has forgotten that Khama III, who was a God-fearing man, affectionately referred to as ‘Khama the Good,’ abhorred witchcraft and voodooism. Bangwato under the shade of his revered Camelthorn trees, ‘Makala a ga Khama’ dragged the reputation and prestige of Khama III’s esteemed kgotla in the mud by suggesting to solve royal problems with petty witchcraft.

The uncles too, this week gave up and called off their attempts to reconcile Ian and Edison’s son, citing that the president is simply ignoring them. In a strongly-worded statement, Kgosi Mokhutshwane Sekgoma did not mince his words about their displeasure with Edison’s son.

Sekgoma wrote: “We are stopping all efforts to engage with President Masisi in this matter as he has shown us unambiguous disrespect and dishonesty. He came to our Kgotla in Serowe and misled us to believe that he was sincere."

“We are left with no choice but to waste no further time. We will now consult the people and deal the matter ourselves (sic).”

Sekgoma, previously known for his calm and intelligent handling of difficult issues, together with other uncles including the regent, Kgosi Sedieng Kgamane, were all listening when the people put out a resolution that the dispute between Ian and Edison’s son must be dealt with by employing witchcraft.

So, as I am writing this to you that though some people laughed off the suggestion to bewitch the President, others are waiting to find out if indeed the Gammangwato brand of witchcraft is effective.


Thea, TK's beloved wife, says Ian has decided not to have babies of his own. So as the queen mother-to-be to the royal heir-at-law, she said that she is preparing her son, Kaedi Khama to take over as Kgosikgolo ya ga Mmangwato in future. Her only worry is that morafe is not coming out to them to teach them about Sengwato traditions and customs.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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