Opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has not taken kindly to High Court ruling which effectively dismissed their petitions on technicality as opposed to merits of the case.
In their appeal papers filed this week, the party ex candidates for Gaborone North Haskins Nkaigwa, San Digwa for Boteti West and Kgalagadi South’s Macus Chimbombi are questioning the victories of their former constituency rivals from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) being Slumber Tsogwane, Mpho Balopi and Justice Brooks. In the notice of grounds of appeal passed to Weekend Post filed this week the UDC being dissatisfied with the ruling(s) delivered by the High Court on 23 December 2019, state that they do hereby appeal the judgement(s).
The party is therefore seeking relief from the Court of Appeal to uphold the appeal while dismissing the ruling of the High Court by ordering that “the points in limine are dismissed.” The party former parliamentary candidates: Digwa; Chimbombi; Nkaigwa pointed out boldly in the appeal papers that “the grounds of appeal are that the court below (erred in fact and law).”
“In finding that an election can only be invalidated on basis of illegal practices and corrupt acts only if those could be brought home to the successful candidate, the Court ought to have found that an election marred by illegal practices or corrupt acts could be invalidated in terms of Section 116 of the Electoral Act even where those could not be brought home to the successful candidate or his polling agent,” opposition UDC pointed out.
The party further highlighted that the High Court ought to have found having regard to the fact that the petitions are to be determined by trial proceedings, there is no need for each and every single averment in the petition to be verified oath by someone with personal knowledge of each and every single allegation; and that it is sufficient that the petitioner has filed a verifying affidavit.
“The court below (also) ought to have found that the absence of a verification of some of the allegations in the petition by someone with first-hand knowledge of all the allegations could not justify dismissal of the entire petition,” the UDC further pointed out. The party also observed that the lower court failed to recognize that the Electoral Act fell to be construed consistently with the UDC candidates’ constitutional rights to protection of the law and access to justice; both of which require that undue formalism should not be resorted to deprive the UDC their right to ventilate their complaints.
The High Court, in one instance had ruled that Digwa petition was a nullity because it did not conclude with the relief that the Petitioner sought. “The court below ought to have found that this objection was cosmetic and it was of no consequence whether the relief sought was set out,” the party stated. In finding that the UDC petitions had failed to establish the locus standi of the IEC, the Umbrella body of main opposition parties says the High Court ought to have found that the locus standi of the IEC was a matter of substantive of law to be determined by interpreting the Constitution.
Moreover, the UDC maintained that the High Court also ought to have found that the jurisdiction derives originally from the Constitution, and the Electoral Act, is a means of giving effect to the constitutional free and fair elections and empowering the High Court to invalidate same where it is not free and fair. The appeal of the 3 cases will be heard in Court of Appeal end of January.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.