He is homeless, a beggar, but rewind to 2015, Paul Mutua was a wealthy businessman. It was until Immigration officials arrested him at the Plumtree border gate in December that the world came crashing on him.
According to Mutua, who is now demanding P18 million for unlawful detention, he was detained and never tried until he approached the High Court and was only released earlier this year in April.
It was after Mutua petitioned the officer commanding State Prison (Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants), the director of Immigration and the Attorney General (AG).
According to a court order dated April 13, 2017, the petitioned were ordered to deliver Mutua into the custody of an official of the Embassy of Kenya in Gaborone. The respondents were also ordered to make consultation with the Kenyan Embassy to make arrangements for the removal of Mutua from Botswana to Kenya within 30 days of the order.
It has been over 70 days now since the day of the order but Mutua is still in Botswana. Mutua has since through Nfila Attorneys issued the AG with a notice to institute legal proceedings against the government demanding general damages in the sum of P10 million for unlawful arrest and detention. Mutua also wants an extra P8.1 million for special damages.
He recalls that during the arrest, the Immigration officers told him that the stamps on his passport were fake. He said as someone who travelled a lot he was shocked to hear that the stamps were fake because he had never been denied access anywhere during his travels as an entrepreneur. “I was kept at Plumtree for the whole day. I was filled with fear and under duress,” he said.
Mutua said they seized all of his documents including personal belongings. He said they did not even care to speak English for better communication. After being kept there for 13 hours they finally promised to take him for transit in Gaborone to catch his flight in the Ethiopian Airlines.
Mutua added that the promise was quickly broken when two men came and chained him like a criminal. “They took me straight to Francistown and I didn’t know that it would be my home for the next two years,” Mutua blatantly told Mmegi.
The aggrieved Kenyan man said he has a lot of grievances with the government of Botswana because they have ‘delayed’, ‘denied’, and stolen from him. The distressed and broken man said he was not allowed to
The Kenyan man who has not seen his family for almost two years, said on top of the money he demands from the government, he also wants an apology. “I want them to apologise to my community and tell the world that I am not a criminal,” he said. Mutua said the Botswana government thought they could hide the information about his arrest forever but his family had to make a follow up and find out what happened to him.
“They even had to lie to my wife saying I had been released four months prior to my release,” he said. Mutua said what he experienced during his time in prison has broken him. He said he has witnessed killings and also received threats. “That place is a torture chamber,” he said. He said the Immigration should release his passport and other belongings because now he is living like a beggar.
“I can’t go back because I don’t even have a passport or the money,” he said. Mutua said the Kenyan Embassy is responsible for arranging for the reissuing of his passport, but are awaiting the Botswana government to pay for everything including his trip back home.
“I can’t walk to Kenya. I can’t even go anywhere without my passport. I am stuck. I was released from prison to another prison. I don’t want to be here,” he said. Mutua said he cannot pay for rent and food and to top it all, he has been using the same clothes. “I am living like an animal; I wash these clothes during the night,” he said. The old man said he is currently making money by working as a labourer in farms in order to keep up until the government returns him home.
Efforts to get a comment from Botswana Prisons Services spokesperson Wamorena Ramolefe proved futile as he referred Mmegi enquiries to the Department of Immigration. The director of Immigration, Mabuse Pule had not responded to Mmegi enquiries at the time of going to print.