In his latest decree, Kgosikgolo Kgafela II has banned shebeens in the Kgatkeng District. At a Kgotla meeting addressed by their king on Saturday, the Bakgatla unanimously agreed that shebeens in the district should be closed with immediate effect.
Kgafela declared that by Sunday no liquor should be sold at any home. "We are going to stop the selling of liquor from homes with immediate effect," Kgafela declared.
He said the regiments were going to see to it that the ban is implemented. Kgafela said the regiments were going to embark on a month long campaign to eradicate the selling of liquor at homes in Kgatleng.
He warned that they do not want any confrontation with the home liquor traders. "We are requesting that by Sunday, alcohol should not be sold from residential places," he declared. He said if they find anybody selling liquor from home, they will destroy it. He threatened that shebeen customers will be dealt with by the mophato. "We are not going to flog the shebeen queens but the male customers," he said.
Kgafela assured the meeting that he is going to write to the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Ramadeluka Seretse, to inform him of the decision that was taken at the Kgotla. He said they expect the minister to instruct the police to enforce this ban. Earlier, when he was briefing the tribe, Kgafela expressed concern about the selling of liquor at homes.
He said they held a meeting with representatives of the Botswana Breweries about the issue. However, he said, there were outstanding issues that the representatives of the breweries failed to address.
He said the representatives requested that they should be given at least two years before the ban on the selling of liquor at homes is effected. Kgafela said the representatives failed to explain who will be responsible for monitoring the situation during that period.
The Botswana Breweries product, Chibuku, will be the most affected by the ban.
Currently, there is no requirement for a licence for trading in Chibuku and that is why it was possible for people to sell Chibuku from their homes. Kgafela said they are not against people consuming alcohol in their homes. "We are only saying alcohol should not be sold at home so that we can control the situation," he said.
"We are not going to stop people from drinking at home. It is your home. You can do whatever you want. You can even smoke dagga. We are only against the selling of beer," Kgosi Kgafela.
Kgafela said he wants Bakgatla to be a leading example of other tribes. Kgafela's younger brother, Mmusi Kgafela, said the law has to be followed. He proposed that people should apply for plots to sell liquor. He suggested that if they cannot find such plots, then they must rent premises. One speaker said the brewery is not concerned about the
Another speaker proclaimed that shebeen queens are not only selling liquor, but in some cases they are also running brothels.
Another tribesman said children raised in shebeens are not well brought up. He spoke about the death of young people who drink traditional brew at shebeens.
"We should implement the resolution that has already been made to do away with selling of liquor from homes. There are so many children who are suffering because their homes have been turned into shebeens," one speaker commented. Other speakers suggested that women who are running shebeens could find other means of earning a living. One of the few women who commented said shebeens also contribute to domestic violence. She said there are many bad things that happen at shebeens. One man said shebeen customers relieve themselves in full view of the public. Shebeen queens and kings were dismayed about the move to ban their business. A shebeen owner, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals from mophato, said they have been depending on selling Chibuku for their survival.
The single mother of eight said selling Chibuku was her only way of earning a living. She has been sending her children to school from the proceeds of "Shake Shake".
"I have been supporting all my children," she said. She fears that members of the mophato are going to deal with them ruthlessly. "They are going to kill us. They are brutal," she said. "How are we going to live? There is nothing that I will be depending on. I will end up stealing," she wailed.
She said the tribal authorities should have come up with some alternatives. She added that they should have given them time to wind up their business. One shebeen operator said the authorities should have warned them early so that they should not buy stock. She does not support the idea of closing down their businesses. "This is the only way we earn a living. There is nothing we will do. We will just comply with their orders," she said.
Some customers who were interviewed at a shebeen did not welcome the move to ban their favourite drinking spots.
"It seems we have two laws in this country. There is one law for Botswana and another one for Kgatleng. I want to move out of Mochudi," said one villager. One customer said he will arm himself to prepare for the imminent attack from the mophato. Other customers also vowed to fight to the bitter end if members of the fearsome mophato confronted them.