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Mhalapitsa chieftainship dispute resurfaces

KOKETSO KGOBOGE
PALAPYE: The Mhalapitsa chieftaincy feud that dragged for eight years before it was resolved two years ago by the then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane has resurfaced.

In the latest development, through his legal advisors, the Headman of Records, Kgosi Bompoetse Gotshwanetse is challenging the decision that was brought by the minister’s representatives.

This comes after the government did not renew his contract that ends in August on the basis that the village chieftaincy belongs to the Motsatsi family.

Gotshwanetse confirmed that he was appealing the decision. He believes he is the rightful Headman of Records and is therefore entitled to hold his seat and be granted a renewal of the contract.

He said over the years, since the announcement of the decision by the minister’s representative at the village Kgotla, he had not received a formal ruling on the matter. That, he said, was despite numerous attempts to source the formal ruling from the minister.

“It is true that I am appealing the decision of the representatives of the minister that were sent here (Mhalapitsa). It is on record that they had informed the kgotla that the minister would advise further on the decision, but that never happened,” he said.

“I don’t see how, without the minister’s further advice as it was put before the people of Mhalapitsa, the government would refuse to renew the contract.

“I have requested numerous times to be furnished with written communication of the minister’s judgement. When that was difficult to produce, I requested for written communication that confirms that indeed the minister sent representatives to the village, but it appears that both communications does not exist.”

Gotshwanetse also said it was also confusing that the Gammangwato chieftaincy is pushing the matter when it has surpassed the Kgotla levels and was since before the minister.

He confirmed that a team led by Kgosi Serogola Seretse was at his kgotla in his absence recently, to inform the Motsatsi family to prepare to take over in August when his contract elapses.

“They called me to inform me they were coming, but I was in Gaborone at the time and could not attend. I am informed of some details of the meeting, but there are no minutes of the same meeting to confirm from,” he said.

A representative of the Motsatsi family, Michael Belebese confirmed receiving a letter from legal representatives of Gotshwanetse

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that challenges the minister’s ruling on the chieftaincy and his request for renewal of the contract.

He said the issue was sorted out a long time ago but was delayed by the contract that he said they were informed it could not be terminated and they obliged to let it end.

Belebese said the timing of the letter was not surprising for them after the recent meeting that was led by Seretse who informed both parties to prepare for a Motsatsi’s takeover in August.

He said, however, they were not bothered by the contents of the letter as Gotshwanetse had all the rights to appeal. But since the ruling had been made he assumed the latter would step down pending the appeal.

“I feel these are delaying tactics, but I am sure the minister’s long-standing judgement would finally be implemented. There is no emergency in this matter. This judgement was delivered in 2018 at the (Mhalapitsa) kgotla before all the villagers including Kgosi Gotshwanetse. He is only appealing because his contract is elapsing,” he said.

The dispute between the two families of the late Kgosi Motsatsi and the late Kgosi Sekoloto over the Mhalapitsa chieftaincy started in 2010 when the former’s family challenged the legitimacy of Kgosi Gotshwanetse.

The minister resolved the Sekolotos had no rights to the inheritance of the Mhalapitsa chieftaincy and should relinquish the throne to the Motsatsi family.The message was delivered on behalf of the minister by two dikgosi, George Tlhwane of Artesia and Michael Molefe of Kopong at the village kgotla in 2018. Tlhwane pronounced that the minister has resolved that the chieftaincy of Mhalapitsa belonged to the family of Motsatsi. “Nothing has changed as for now. Kgosi Bompoetse Gotshwanetse will remain on the throne.

However, the ruling means the Sekolotos have no rights to the inheritance of the Mhalapitsa chieftaincy and will relinquish the throne to the Motsatsis at the time the minister will require them to,” Tlhwane said at the time.Gotshwanetse is the son and successor of Gotshwanetse Sekoloto who was the village chief until his demise in 1996. He took over the throne in 1998. Motsatsi’s challenged his legitimacy 12 year’s later and won in 2018.



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