Gaborone High Court Judge Omphemetse Motumise has last month slapped the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi with a writ of summons for defamation in the sum of P10 million. Judge Motumise who was only appointed a judge last year October following a Court of Appeal judgment decry that he was defamed by Minister Kgathi during a press briefing last year September.
Kgathi stated during the press briefing that former President Ian Khama would uphold the court ruling, “despite the fact that the vetting process had found Motumise to be unsuitable for appointment to the position of a High Court judge.” It is this statement that Judge Motumise contends was made with intent to defame and with knowledge of wrongfulness on the part of the government officials who later made and published the statement.
“The said words, in the context, are wrongful, unlawful, malicious and defamatory of the plaintiff in that they were intended to be and were understood by readers to mean that the plaintiff is guilty of some dishonorable, unethical, improper, inappropriate or any adverse conduct which renders him unsuitable for High Judicial office,” states Motumise in his court papers.
Motumise wants P2, 5 million from each of the four State-owned media entities that carried the alleged defamatory statement being Radio Botswana, Botswana Television, Daily News and BWGovernment facebook page. The State has last week served Judge Motumise with a memorandum of appearance, that they were ready to defend the matter.
In their papers, Deputy Government Attorney Matlhogonolo Phuthego stated that Kgathi admits that he made and uttered the statement, as referred to in Motumise’s claim but denied defamatory. “It is denied that the words and or statement were defamatory of the plaintiff. It is denied that, reasonably, the statement could have been understood to mean what Motumise alleges it mean and was intended to mean.”
“The statement was true, substantially true, and, in any event, the statement was made in the public interest, the statement constituted a fair comment.” The background of the case is that, in 2015 the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) “advised” Khama to appoint Motumise in accordance with Section 96 (2) of the Constitution of Botswana.
Khama declined to act in accordance with the “advice” and litigation ensued at the High Court in May 2015. The litigation which was brought by Law Society of Botswana and Motumise was against JSC and former President Khama. It was then that in April 2017, the Court of Appeal set aside Khama’s refusal to appoint Motumise.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.