By the end of this week Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President Advocate, Sidney Pilane, will be swimming in at least P3 million legal fees bill after the Gaborone High Court dismissed his application to be brought back in Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) with costs.
BMD through Pilane, was questioning the manner in which they were ejected from the Umbrella project. At forefront BMD argued that the UDC decisively ignored the constitution and failed to follow the right structures when expelling them. It was also submitted that the body which purported to take the offending decisions has not been elected by UDC constitutional structures, therefore it is not constituted
In an interview this week with UDC leader, Duma Boko, who roped in legal brains from South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Senior Counsel (SC), Kennedy Paul and SC Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, revealed that the case will eat millions from Pilane. “The initial costs estimate of the case was P1.6 million but it is highly likely to go up because of additional costs.”
The initial costs were emanating from routinely consultations and interpretations of the case before reaching the High court on the 27th of last month. The court appearance of the four man team from South Africa, plus two local advocates with arguments by the two SC before the three man judge panel saw the bill reaching the estimated P1.6 million
“But it is very much likely to go up because there are additional costs which includes transports, lodging, meals, filling and all the stuff. So for now I cannot really commit as to how much it will costs because our lawyers are still sorting out the bill and it will be ready before the end of this week,” a buoyant Boko said in a telephone interview on Wednesday afternoon.
He continued; “Remember that case was handled by two SC’s and two juniors, furthermore we also had two advocates and all of them will compile their fees and we are waiting for that and that is when we will slap that other party (BMD), with the bill which will be very huge.” While Boko could not give this publication a real bill that will be put before Pilane’s desk since it is still drawn by the notaries, informants from the party claims to this publication on Thursday that indeed the legal fees from the attorneys will not be anything less than P3 million something which Boko did not rule out when asked.
The UDC leader who before this case has triumphed Pilane again in a case in which the former wanted him and the wife struck out of the voter’s roll, alleging they did not registrar at their principal residence says Pilane will still have to pay. “There were two cases if you remember, this one and the interlocutory case which they withdrew at the courts. Our lawyers are demanding payments for that because they came prepared for the case and they thoroughly consulted, hence they are demanding payments.”
It is not clear as to how much Boko’s man will charge for the aborted case; “but one thing which is for sure, is it will over be P100k,” one high ranking UDC leader disclosed to Weekendpost. Having lost the case at the High court as well as being dismissed when trying to lodge an appeal on urgency mode, the BMD will still appeal the matter and Boko foresees another embarrassment. “Before appealing any matter there is what is called Appeal security for costs, which is paid by the appellant and to us we will not demand anything less than a P1 million,” a very calm Boko divulged on Thursday evening.
Boko says after all these are done they will file with the court registrar to carry out a taxation process so that they can issue a writ of payment. “And we will then follow them to pay, if they don’t we will auction or close them down,” he remarked. Pilane on the other hand says the bill by the UDC is too much and they are still appealing the matter. “With legal fees it is still under appeal. But there was no need to bring four or six advocates, for me I would have expected P300k, not the amount they could be talking about, it was just one matter despite having Boko and UDC. Boko was roped in because he was the Chairman on the meetings so we needed record.”
This is what the BMD Secretary General Gilbert Mangole converged with his leader. “It will be too much but we know they would have done it purposely but we are appealing the matter. But if at all we lose, then obviously we will have to pay and the relevant authorities will look at our capacity if at all we can manage to pay the amount or what,” he said.
PILANE IN ANOTHER HALF A MILLION PULA LEGAL BILL
While still awaiting to be furnished with a bill from his opponents, Pilane is also expected to foot a whooping P457k legal fee from South African Senior Counsel Alexandra John Freund who represented him on the same matter. BMD Secretary General Gilbert Mangole confirmed to this publication that already they have paid P62k plus another P45k. “Before going to high court there were some back and forth consultation and interpretation hence we paid this amount,” Mangole clarified. He however said they are still waiting to clear off another P260k of Freund’s fees for court deliberations and time spent at the court.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.