The High Court this week thwarted government efforts to deport two Ugandan refugees and declare them prohibited immigrants (PI).
The two refugees, Musa Isabirye and Timothy Yamin are currently based at Dukwi Refugee Camp placed 123 km from Francistown.
This publication has established that the duo had rubbed government the wrong way ever since they complained about filthy welfare status at the Dukwi refugee camp. They had complained that the camp posed health risks to their being. It is understood that since then government has put them under surveillance and hatched a plan to extradite them but it failed on two occasions.
Just this week, according to a court order released on Friday and seen by Weekend Post, government was interdicted from deporting the duo pending finalization of the matter before the courts.
“The respondents or anyone acting under their authority are prohibited and/or interdicted from deporting the applicants until the application for an interim interdict is determined to its finality.”
In addition, the refugees have now been granted leeway to consult their attorney, a central right which they were denied before. It is said that government have denied them legal representation by barring them from consulting their lawyer. “The notice prohibiting applicants’ legal representatives from consulting their clients is declared unconstitutional, irrational and unlawful. The applicants’ legal representatives are now hereby permitted to consult applicants,” Francistown High Court Judge, Lot Moroka who presided over the matter also ordered.
In a letter addressed to the Attorney General on Wednesday, the two refugees’ attorney, Martin Dingake of Dingake Law Partners stated that “we hold instructions to proceed to court on urgency should you fail to give the requested undertaking to interdict the Government of Botswana from deporting the clients pending the review application.”
In their intention to sue, the refugees through their renowned lawyer cited the president of Botswana Lt. Gen Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama as the 1st respondent, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi the 2nd respondent and the 3rd respondent as Commissioner of Prisons and Rehabilitation Silas Setlalekgosi while the 4th is Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Isaac Kgosi and Attorney General Athaliah Molokomme is the 5th as principal legal advisor to government.
The Gaborone based lawyer, on behalf of refugees indicate that they want an order reviewing, correcting and/or setting aside the decision of the President of the Republic of Botswana to declare the Claimants undesirable inhabitants of, and visitors to Botswana in terms of Section 41 (1)(c ) of the Immigration Act [Cap 39;01] of the Laws of Botswana.
In addition they assert that they request for “an order reviewing, correcting and/or setting aside the decision of the Refugee Advisory Committee (“RAC”) to revoke the political refugee status of the claimants as contained in the letter of the 15th September 2015.”
According to Dingake, the court should further declare that the decision to revoke the status of the claimants is both procedurally and substantively unfair and violates the audi alteram partem and therefore invalid and of no force and force. The Ugandan exiles were given refugee status in 2011.
Their statuses have not been received ever since until after two (2) successful court applications launched against the Attorney General of the Republic of Botswana. The Refugee Advisory Committee had sought to do so, twice (2) by inviting the Claimants to appear before the Committee without the basis thereof.
In a similar matter, former president Festus Mogae has been complaining about deportation of foreign nations by the Khama regime.
He spoke at an African leadership forum in Tanzania that: “in my country for example, we are regressing. The problem is if you criticize your successor, people think you want to rule from the grave. We were a small country that ran an open economy and open society. But our present government has expelled over 2000 foreign professionals over the last six years.”
Dingake contends that “both the President and the Committee did not consider the personal circumstances given political refugee status of the Claimants (2 refugees) and the adverse consequences their decisions will have on the best interest of their children.”
He pointed out that the previous decisions of the Committee to revoke the status of the Claimants (refugees) without done process was indicative of a party who was hell-sent on taking such a decision irrespective of what is provided for in the national law. It is not the first time government threatens to deport the duo, they did in the past but also failed.
At present government is also plagued in a matter involving Eritrean players who are seeking for political asylum in the country. While Eritrea is rife with violations of human rights, government, in particular Minister of Justice, Defense and Security has also threatened to send the players back to their home despite clear disregard of human rights there.
However, after court intervention the players are also housed at Francistown detention camp for illegal immigrants subject to valuation.
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.