Francistown High Court Judge, Lot Moroka has threatened to detain politicians who blame the delayed completion of a case in which opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) took government to court challenging the introduction of the Electronic Voting Machines on the court.
During trial of the case this week, Moroka was not amused that a certain politician has blamed the delayed completion of the landmark case on the court. “I have read somewhere that a certain politician blamed the tardy completion of this case on the court. In the future I will call such politicians before court to explain why they cannot be charged with contempt of court. Any person who blames the delay on the court is disingenuous,” Moroka divulged.
The presiding officer clearly indicated that his court is committed to swiftly deal with the case as it is of national interest since is about elections. According to Moroka, the progress of the case was halted after the applicants asked for a postponement to give the previous parliamentary session ample time to deliberate on the matter. “I want this matter to be finalised by the end of this year, I do not want to hold the whole nation at ransom,” Moroka averred.
Meanwhile, BCP attorney Dutch Leburu made an application seeking to amend his clients’ pleadings. “The purpose of the application is to seek the following reliefs; the plaintiff avers that the electronic voting machine as fully described in the Electronic Amendment 2016 and its usage constitute electronic transaction in terms of the Electronic Communication and Transaction Act of 2014,” Leburu said.
He added that, “the Electronic Voting Machine aforesaid and its usage as defined is not in compliance with Part ii, Part iii, Part iv and Part viii of the electronic Communications Act. The plaintiff therefore avers that, the EVM aforesaid and its usage contravenes the Electronic Communication and Transaction Act being the legislation that regulates electronic communication and/or transactions”. Leburu argued that the issue of amendment of pleadings has been dealt with in a number of cases in Botswana and beyond.
He mentioned that the courts usually grant applicants to amend pleadings where the amendments sought will not cause injustice to the opposite party that cannot be compensated by an appropriate order as to costs. Since the application is for an indulgence the applicant must afford an explanation for his request, more especially if his application is not timeous, involves the withdrawal of significant admissions, or where his opponent could be substantially prejudiced were the amendment to be granted, Leburu said.
“Generally speaking it is necessary to file an affidavit of merits, in answer to which his opponent may advance reasons as to why he may be prejudiced if the application is allowed,” he submitted. Leburu pleaded with the court that an amendment should not be refused merely to punish a plaintiff for his neglect and that in order to determine the real issues between the parties; the court may permit a new cause of action to be introduced by way of amendment.
On the other hand, Counsel Matlhogonolo Phuthego opposed the plaintiff’s application to file amendments. Phuthego argued that BCP keeps on shifting the goal posts, therefore delaying the progress of the case. “There is need for statutory notice to effect the amendment. The pleadings have been closed my Lord,” Phuthego pointed out. According to Phuthego the electoral act can only be amended by parliament since it was reviewed by it. Moroka will deliver his ruling on the BCP application to file amendments on November 29.
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.