A pending defamation case lodged by Member of Parliament (MP) for Tati East Samson Moyo Guma against Gaborone North legislator, Haskins Nkaigwa over a facebook post has this week taken a new twist.
Fresh information reaching this publication suggests that an attorney representing the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) law maker (Nkaigwa), Joram Matomela of JJ Matomela Attorneys slapped Moyo Guma with demands of documents relating to his alleged corruption business deals currently before the courts. It is believed the information would assist Nkaigwa to beef-up his defense in the defamation lawsuit.
In the contentious array of demands by Matomela to Ramalepa Attorneys who are representing the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MP Guma, he points out that: “the aid documents are in the custody of and are necessary for ensuring that justice is dispensed in this matter.” He stated that “we wish to put you on notice that, as part of his defense, Nkaigwa requires that you avail to him the following documents which he intends to use for his defense. The documents relating to your client’s tax returns.”
Among the official papers, Matomela also wants copies of the documents relating to the ongoing corruption case pending before the Village Magistrate Court wherein Guma’s companies are a subject of interest of the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC). “The above matters are important as they have a direct bearing on Moyo’s character, which is the subject of the defamation suit launched by him.”
The Tati East legislator has had his bank accounts at Standard Chartered Bank frozen in what was said to be a result of “instructions from the highest office in the land.” It is understood that the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who were then acting on behalf of the DCEC filed the application that effected the freezing of bank accounts belonging to Moyo Guma’s company, IRB Transport.
Guma co-owned the company with Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng, who later ceased his shareholding in the latter. It is understood that IRB Transport, owned by Guma, although not yet charged, has been for some time under surveillance by Botswana’s financial intelligence and security organs.
Guma was also caught off guard when the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) smacked him with a close to 30 million tax bill. He was accused and being investigated for allegedly flouting tax disbursements in addition to the corruption allegations. In the communication by Matomela to Ramalepa attorneys, another contention he alludes is that Guma’s attorneys make unnecessary postponements on the matter.
“We wish to register our concern that to date, the parties have not held a final case management conference as required by the rules. It will be recalled that at the last court appearance, you were not ready to proceed and you requested a postponement we did not object to,” the lawyer communicated.
He added that as the owner of the lawsuit (dominus litis), the responsibility of ensuring that meetings of the parties as per the rules of the court fall squarely on them and that therefore he demands that Ramalepa attorneys advise them as to whether Moyo is still interested in proceeding with the suit against Nkaigwa. “Delay on finalizing this matter causes a lot of prejudice on Nkaigwa as it takes his time and financial resources. Client is a Member of Parliament and has more serious issues to attend to relating to his constituents.”
Guma is suing the Gaborone North counterpart for P2 million in damages for defamation over a face book post of 22 April 2016 which was said to have been posted on the political face book group “All Parties Conference.” The defamatory post is said to have stated that “Guma can only cheat those who don’t know him, jang dijo betsho, le madi lea tsee le dino le dinwe. Madi a bogodu a tshwanetse go jewa akere ga a huhulelwa.”
When justifying the post as defamatory, Guma’s lawyers at Ramalepa Attorneys pointed out that the statement was understood to mean that Guma is a dishonest and corrupt public figure and politician who steals public funds for use in personal political campaigns. “The publication of the said statement was made with intention to humiliate, degrade or impair the dignity, self-esteem and reputation of Moyo; the publication of the defamatory aforesaid was an aggression upon Moyo’s personality rights, dignity, self-esteem and reputations a result of which he was aggrieved,” the letter addressed to Nkaigwa highlighted.
The lawsuit, which is believed to be the first facebook defamation case in local courts, comes at the backdrop of a controversial Cybercrime and Computer Related Crimes Act which was passed by parliament not so long ago. The new internet Act allow people to sue over the information that is presented on the internet and it also criminalizes publication of information that may be considered injurious to people’s character.
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.