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Calls For Recognition Of More Tribes Can Only Get Louder

On Saturday government announced to the Baweyi in Ngamiland that they are now an independent recognised tribe. That announcement will see the newest recognised tribe, only the eighth, begin to enjoy the privileges that come with it.

They include appointment of a paramount chief or tribal authority, who will not only be salaried, but will also have a structure of senior chiefs, court bailiffs, clerks,  as well as the power to appoint village chiefs in all their varying levels of authority and seniority.

As an independent tribe they will have their headquarters, like the rest of the eight major tribes. They will also  expect to have their District Council, all major tribes in Botswana have a district council named after them that serves their geographical and tribal interest.

The Baweyi can also start looking forward to enjoying the many privileges that include tribal land with its own land-board authority, like the rest of the eight tribes.

Congratulations are in order for the newest tribe, the first to be recognised by a postcolonial government since all

the existing eight major tribes’ existence predate the Republic.

While the pecks and benefits that come with this type of privilege are no doubt salivating, questions need to be asked, is Botswana moving towards a tribally neutral society or a tribalistic society now?

The appointment of the newest constitutionally recognised tribe comes at a time when calls for removal of certain sections of the constitution that have created minority and majority tribes, have failed.

Interestingly though is the fact that the newly crowned Baweyi tribe, has not been the only tribe in Botswana crying for hegemony.

On reflection, this decision, of a government appearing to discriminately recognise only one of the more than 30 tribes, could in fact fuel sparks of tribalism among those tribes that  feel their calls for recognition are not being taken seriously.


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