December 3, 2001

Balete set precedent with a woman kgosi

Balete on December 3 set a historical precedent by choosing a woman to rule them. Mosadi Seboko, sister to the late Balete paramount Kgosi (King) Seboko II, was chosen in a well attended meeting, traditionally called kgotla. Some 1.500 people went against the royal family's wish to have Tsimane Mokgosi installed paramount chief. Her paternal uncles were against her enthronement on the grounds that it was against the Balete custom of male succession.

The late Kgosi Seboko died this year without leaving an heir. Since his death, Balete have been struggling to find the rightful heir to the throne. Balete will be the first ethnic group in post-colonial Botswana to be led by a woman as paramount King. The Saturday meeting was called after both the royal house and the headmen failed to agree on a successor. For his part, Mokgosi said he was asked by the kgosi's uncles to assume the throne in line with the custom of male succession.

The late Kgosi Seboko II had been the only son and did not have children. According to custom, the lineage should have shifted to his uncle's house. The former MP for South East, Geoffrey Oteng, however advised Balete that gender discrimination had no basis in modern age, saying rulers should be selected on merit and ability to perform. Asked why she wants to rule, Seboko said she is the daughter of the late Balate paramount kgosi and therefore the rightful heir. She noted that the minister of local government under whose juridiction tribal administration falls is a woman, and the MP for South East is also woman therefore there is no reason why she should not be Queen. (DAILY NEWS)


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