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Kgosi Sinvula III urges dikgosi to be apolitical

26 May 2024

Traditional leaders play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the government and communities, and should do so without becoming embroiled in partisan politics.

Speaking at the coronation of Kgosi Bateng Bailaphuthi of Semotswane on Saturday, Kgosi Liswaani Maiba Sinvula III of Basubiya in Chobe, said traditional leaders served as a connection between the government and the people; facilitating dialogue and understanding between these two pillars of the society.

However, he said they must do so without compromising their neutrality and impartiality by aligning themselves with any political party or movement. 

He said assuming the traditional leadership roles, Kgosi Bailaphuthi was now charged with a heavy responsibility and stressed the importance of impartiality and integrity in his new role.

"You must judge each case based on merits without fear or favour," he added. Kgosi Sinvula III emphasised that the path to unity and progress was not always smooth, and that criticism was an inevitable aspect of leadership. They will always question your decisions, but you must remain true to yourself and your people," said Kgosi Sinvula III. 

He said traditional leadership was not merely a position of power, but a divine calling to serve the people, adding that the role of a traditional leader was multifaceted, encompassing facilitation of kgotla meetings,  execution of government directives, maintenance of peace and unity amongst people.

Kgosi Sinvula III said the other role was to uphold cultural values as dikgosi are guardians of cultural norms and traditions, ensuring their continued relevance and respect within the community.

Additionally, he said dikgosi are responsible for conflict resolutions because traditional leaders often act as mediators.

He said whilst Bogosi Act establishes a hierarchy in traditional leaders, in reality, each leader was a "Chief by his own right."

Kgosi Sinvula III was hopeful that the government continued to recognise the autonomy and legitimacy of all traditional leaders, regardless of their title or position within the larger system of government.

To the tribe, he emphasised the critical role of the kgotla as a forum for community driven decision making process and development, urging them to actively participate in such discussions.

He reminded villagers of their importance in the governance process, encouraging them to support and respect their leader by regularly attending kgotla meetings.

"It is at the kgotla that decisions that affect your village, your land and your future are made and your voice matters," said Kgosi Sinvula III. 

Kgosi David Adams of Shashemooke underscored the central position traditional leaders have as pillars of cultural identity and social cohesion. 

He shared his colleague's perspective, reinforcing the role traditional leaders play in the society.

"Traditional leaders are not only custodians of culture and customs, but also the glue that holds our communities together. They are a foundation upon which our society is built," said Kgosi Adams.

In his welcome remarks, Kgosi Bokamoso Radipitse of Tonota, reminded Kgosi Bailaphuthi of the fundamental principle that should guide his tenure.

"You must respect your people and make decisions without fear or favour. Your judgement should be fair, just and equitable and putting the well-being of your people above all else," he added.

In his acceptance speech, Kgosi Bailaphuthi pledged to rule with "fairness and justice."

For a successful reign, he asked the people for their understanding and support.

"I am aware that the task ahead is not an easy one, but with your cooperation and assistance, we will achieve great things for our village," he said.

He also challenged the people to 'lay aside their differences and focus on what truly matters' which is the prosperity of their village.

He shared the vision of their village which was invigorated by arts, a symbol of cultural pride and unity.

Kgosi Bailaphuthi was presented with cattle, small stock as well as a shot gun amongst others. The day was characterised by poems, choral, kwaito music and ululations. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Thamani Shabani

Location : Semotswane

Event : Inauguration

Date : 26 May 2024