In dramatic turn of events, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Lieutenant General Placid Segokgo hastily reinstated dismissed BDF lovers on Saturday, following a ruling that he should be jailed for contempt of court.
An 11th hour letter of reinstatement written to the duo’s lawyer, Duma Boko, states that Private Kazondu Uariaua and Lieutenant Thabang Tlhapisang should report to work today.
For Uariaua, however who has indicated he is no longer keen to return to the barracks, the meeting today with his army bosses would be to process his separation package.
The commander’s sudden change of heart seemed to have been motivated by Lobatse High Court Judge, Zein Kebonang’s Friday morning issuance of a warrant of arrest for Segokgo, citing his failure to comply with a court ruling that the two should be reinstated.
In the midst of rushing to court to try and block the arrest, about 15 hours on Saturday, the BDF boss signed a letter, reinstating the duo. The letter, to Boko, reference numbers PF.291251 and PF.250128 reads, “Please be informed that in line with the court order passed by Dr Justice Z Kebonang on the 18 November 2016, your client is hereby reinstated with immediate effect. You are advised to inform her to report to Botswana Defence Force headquarters on December 19, 2016 for processing of her reinstatement.”
Parallel to the process, Segokgo’s lawyer, Matlhogonolo Phuthego filed an urgent application challenging the warrant of arrest.
Segokgo pleaded with the court that the warrant was issued without him being given notice. He said that he was served with the papers minutes before the court decided to “direct the police” to arrest him.
“I was further convicted without being given a hearing as I was only served at 0925 but the court at that time had already set to determine the matter.”
In the application, the BDF boss stated that, “It is clear that the order has drastic consequences against me personally as I have to be treated like a convicted criminal and to be locked up in prison with immediate effect, for things I am alleged to have done in my capacity as the commander, Botswana Defence Force”. In court Friday evening, after an intense court hearing, the two parties agreed that the warrant of arrest was rather a “harsh” verdict and that the warrant of arrest should be suspended pending the appeal.
The two parties agreed to “suspend the order granted by Kebonang on December 16, 2016 pending appeal on the merits of the current urgent application”.
Also, the parties agreed to the “reinstatement with immediate effect of the dismissed BDF couple, Tlhapisang and Uariaua, and that they should report to work on December 19 2016”.