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Moatlhodi assault trial begins

LEBOGANG MOSIKARE
Pono Moatlhodi PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
FRANCISTOWN: The assault trial of outspoken Tonota legislator Pono Moatlhodi and his co-accused will begin on Monday.

The state alleges that Moatlhodi and married couple, Maranyane Kebitsang and Nnyana Kebitsang, acting together in concert assaulted a 12-year-old boy on January 30, 2019, in Tonota.

The trio is alleged to have thereafter unleashed a vicious dog to bite the child, causing him puncture wounds and bruises on his face and body contrary to the Children’s Act.

In the past, police stated that the minor incurred the wrath of the accused after he allegedly stole some mangoes from the Kebitsang’s homestead.

One of the accused, Maranyane, has since died.

Ever since it started, the high profile case has had its fair share of twists and turns in and outside the courtroom.

At one point, while the defence attorney and prosecution thought that they have made headways in reconciliation, which will result in the matter stayed on condition that the accused compensated the complainant with P40,000, the Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Stephen Tiroyakgosi, had different thoughts.

Tiroyakgosi instructed the prosecutor in the case that it should proceed for trial much to the delight of social

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media enthusiasts.

Some of them said that it would have been a miscarriage of justice if the matter was settled out of court taking into consideration the escalating cases of gender-based violence (GBV), especially those perpetrated against children and women that have engulfed the country in recent years.

The matter also caused Moatlhodi to have a bitter fallout with his colleagues within the opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), which ultimately led him to retrace his steps to his long time political home, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Also when the matter started, attorney Martin Maiba represented Moatlhodi and Nnyana. But when the matter was about to be set for trial, the accused beefed up their legal defence by engaging counsel Tshekiso Tshekiso, the chairperson of the Botswana Law Society. After Moatlhodi made a political U-turn to the BDP, some social media commentators wished him ill in the ‘assault’ case.

They wished Moatlhodi to lose the ‘assault’ case and thereafter be imprisoned, which will subsequently trigger a by-election in the constituency he is representing.



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