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Police Probe COVID-19 'Contravening' BDP

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
BDP Central Committee held a Special meeting during lockdown
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) could land in hot soup for allegedly going against coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations following a central committee gathering that took place over the lockdown period.

The party will be investigated after Botswana Congress Party (BCP) reported the matter to the police.

A letter dated May 27, 2020 penned by BCP secretary general, Phillip Monowe read: “In terms of regulation 16 of the Emergency Powers (COVID 19) regulations, 5.1 no 61 of 2020 gatherings of more than two persons are prohibited except for a meeting of Cabinet, National Assembly, a council meeting, or a meeting of the national taskforce on COVID-19.

“In terms of regulation 31 of the said regulations, a person who contravenes any provision of the regulations which a penalty is not provided, commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding P100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or both”.

The letter stated that on May 9, 2020 the BDP central committee held a meeting at the State House, which was attended by more than two persons and it was widely publicised in various media.

Monowe said the gathering was not a Cabinet meeting, National Assembly, council meeting nor a meeting of the national taskforce on COVID-19.

“In terms of the provisions outlined above, the regulations do not provide for any exception for

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a meeting of any other body except for the bodies identified in regulation 16.

It therefore follows that the BDP central committee breached the regulations and therefore committed an offence,” he highlighted.

The BCP proffered it has seen the Botswana Police Service charging several members of the public for contravening the regulations and some had pressing matters that forced them to get out of their houses.

BCP stated it would be ‘a sad day’ in Botswana if the law applies selectively with certain individuals exempted.

“We, therefore, found it necessary, as we hereby do, on behalf of the Botswana Congress Party, to lodge a formal report of the breach of the regulations by the BDP central committee to you and we request to be furnished with a report of the progress of the case within 14 days for us to explore other options.”

However, Botswana Police deputy commissioner Dinah Marathe on June 25, 2020 responded to the BCP letter saying: “Kindly be informed that we have noted your report on the possible breach of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) regulations. Your report is currently receiving attention and we shall revert to you in due course”.



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