Scores of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) activists who were charged for illegal gathering in Serowe in February are likely to go without being punished after the complainant in the matter failed to honour the hearing yesterday.
Mmegi is informed that the complainant, Steady Sethaba was not available when the case was called hence it could not proceed. However, the National Disciplinary Committee chairperson, Damien Thapa told the accused members that the verdict would be out today.
“We were called in the same board room and the name of the complainant was called three times but he did not show up. No charge was read to us, or anything said. Rather the chairperson told us that the judgement will be out tomorrow [meaning today]. At this point we do not know what to say because the case did not proceed,” councillor Foster Seretse said.
The hearing was postponed last without valid reasons. According to a source, some of the reasons for the postponement were that Serowe South MP, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi had written a letter to Tsholetsa House asking why the hearings could not be heard in Serowe where it was alleged the crime took place.
“The BDP had responded to Venson-Moitoi’s letter demanding to know in what capacity she made the request. Further, she wanted to be given reasons why the meetings could not be heard in Serowe, since the witnesses and the accused people stayed in Serowe. Other sources said the postponement was due to the fact that both the BDP and Venson-Moitoi are yet to respond to the correspondences.
Tati East legislator, Samson Guma Moyo and 31 others are facing various charges. This was after they were accused to have attended an ‘illegal’ meeting in Serowe late February 2019. The BDP sub communication chairperson Kagelelo Kentse confirmed that the hearing took place yesterday.
‘I understand the complainant did not come, but I am not sure if the proceeding did not take place. The expectation is that the judgement should be delivered on Friday,” Kentse said.
The ruling party had initially cautioned the members who attended the alleged illegal Serowe gathering, stating that it was not officially sanctioned, adding that if such continued, action would be taken. There was no complaint raised against former president, Ian Khama and former presidential aspirant, Venson-Moitoi. although the two attended the alleged illegal meeting.
The accused are expected to appear before the committee on different dates alongside their witnesses.
However, a letter from the party to the accused did not state the kind of offences the they have committed. “There has been an official complaint about the meeting. We will now investigate the matter and if need be, action will be taken against those in the wrong,” BDP Secretary General, Mpho Balopi said.
The letter reads in part “We wish to advise that the meeting was held contrary to Article 45.3 of the constitution of the BDP which states that ‘the place, date and time of any meeting of an organ of the Party shall be determined by the Chairpersons of that meeting. Any caprice of fides in making such determination shall invalidate such meeting and may render the person making such determination liable to disciplinary action”.
According to a letter dated March 1, 2019 from Serowe West Branch chairperson, Sethaba, a question was raised by one elder demanding that the meeting be informed on how there could have been an election of the president at TTC (at the regional congress) without their knowledge and in the absence of certain structural protocols being followed.