FRANCISTOWN: The trial dates of former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) branch operative, who is currently on suspension following allegations he defiled his stepdaughter in July, will be set on November 1, 2021.
The accused (names withheld) had initially admitted to the offence but changed his plea after spending more than two weeks in jail.
On Tuesday, Tsagae Marape from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) told the court that he did not know why the accused did not appear in court although he was aware of his scheduled court appearance since the date was set in his presence.
Marape, however, said that he was reluctant to apply for a warrant of the accused’s arrest because he has been cooperating with the prosecution since charges were laid against him.
Marape added: “I will inform the accused of his next mention date. We, therefore, make an application for the setting of trial dates in this matter".
Senior Magistrate Thapelo Buang then set November 1 as the next mention to set trial dates in the matter.
After the accused was indicted for defilement, the BDP swiftly moved to suspend him from his position pending the finalisation of his matter before the court and in order to allow him to clear his name before the court.
The regional secretary of BDP in the Francistown region Baemedi Medupi then told Mmegi that the BDP suspended the accused taking into consideration the seriousness of the matter he is facing. He said this is also in light of the increasing gender-based violence offences in the country, especially sexually related ones.
Medupi said that if the accused continued to hold his position, his stay would have the potential to bring the name of the party into disrepute. Early last year, the BDP slapped Nata-Gweta legislator, Polson Majaga, with a 60-day suspension after he was arraigned before the Nata Magistrate's Court on a charge of defilement. The suspension was later made indefinite. The party stated that Majaga was suspended to enable him to clear his name in the wake of the charges levelled against him.
The legislator was later absolved of any wrongdoing by the court and subsequently welcomed back into the party.