Cllr on self- imposed exile


Naledi North councillor Oarabile Motlaleng’s whereabouts are not known after he skipped the country for “fear” of his life.

Lawyer Martin Dingake confirmed to Mmegi that Motlaleng, a member of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) left the country beginning of last month. Dingake said his client, who before the October general elections was reportedly kidnapped, brutally assaulted and left for dead outside his house in Naledi, is now safe outside the country.

While initial rumours were that the councillor, who is the chairperson of the audit committee in the Gaborone City Council, had escaped to China, Mmegi is reliably informed that he is in the United States of America.

But Dingake would not be drawn to disclose his client’s whereabouts “for security reasons”.  “Motlaleng is still considering options as to how he can ensure his safety going forward. I’m unable to say, at this stage, whether or not he has applied for asylum as the option remains varied. For all we know, the Government of Botswana may guarantee its obligation towards him of ensuring that he is safe whilst in the country. Consequently I am unable to preempt what may or may not happen.”

The United States Embassy in Botswana could not confirm whether Motlaleng applied for asylum and the nature of his VISA application. “Under US law all visa records are confidential and cannot be released,” read a statement from the embassy.

According to Dingake, “Honourable Motlaleng is currently outside the country for various reasons. Initially, and primarily, to seek medical attention following his assault by what was perceived to have been executed by security agents, given the systematic manner in which the pain was inflicted.

“Motlaleng has not recovered since, in particular, his legs and feet which continue to experience excruciating pain and swelling now and then,” explained Dingake.

The lawyer explained that whilst preparing to seek medical attention, Motlaleng received information from sources that his life was in danger given his deep knowledge into corrupt activities within the body polity.

He said this development necessitated a minor detour from the initial trip, the sole purpose of which was to seek medical attention.

“Honourable councillor Motlaleng advises that he is in possession of classified information,” Dingake alleged.

He claimed that Motlaleng’s informants advised him that this information had not been fully recovered from him at the time of his attack in the build-up to the 2014 general elections.

He said: “Motlaleng’s close associates have also been attacked or robbed by what appeared to have been security agents operations to unearth as much information as possible around these issues”.

Dingake explained that whilst Motlaleng remains committed to the ideals of his candidacy and serving the interests of his electorate, he deeply fears for his life and “is consequently taking necessary steps to secure his safety”.

“He considers it necessary to reassess and evaluate his safety within Botswana in order to safely pursue the ideals of a free and democratic society.”  But, by law, if the councillor is away for six months, the ward will be declared vacant and a by-election called.

Dingake continued: “As a result, Honourable Motlaleng deems it unsafe to immediately return back to Botswana without assurance of his safety. This is because after he was tortured, two  weeks later, he was following his discharge from hospital he was attacked again, his dog killed and his car tyres slashed.

“Motlaleng has received verbal threats regarding the use of force by the DIS and or security agents from both BDP MPs and Councillors. He has thus temporarily taken time out to reflect on these matters and secure his safety in the meantime.”  Dingake said Motlaleng continues to engage the authorities about his fears but to no avail. 

“He is hardly engaged by the authorities on the investigations relating to his torture case.  He has done so on numerous occasions, and whenever he does so, he is labelled paranoid and is threatened by Botswana Democratic Party MPs while councillors make jest out of the situation despite their comments being chilling reminders of what occurred to him on that fateful day when he was attacked.”

Dingake denied security operatives ever questioned Motlaleng sometime in May over allegations of criminal activities.

“The drug allegations are news to us and it seems to be part of their plan to divert attention from their failure to guarantee his security and carry proper investigations on his torture case.

“By these they want to portray Motlaleng as a fugitive. The reality is otherwise.”

Naledi Police station commander King Tshebo said he was not aware of the case but referred all inquiries regarding the matter to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security, Director General Isaac Kgosi.   Kgosi denied involvement of his dreaded department in the Motlaleng matter.

“We have never tortured him contrary to what he is always alleging in the media.

He knows why he is on the run and my department cannot be blamed for that. Some politicians have made it a habit to spread untruths about the DIS,” said Kgosi.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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