FRANCISTOWN: According to the origins of the idiomatic expression rat race, the phrase encompasses struggles that people go through before they may finally achieve their dream.
In the Dumisani Moyo case, who was acquitted and discharged of a single count of illegal possession of a rhino horn, it may be apt to refer to his case against the State as a rhino horn race.
There seems to be no end in sight in this race between the State and Moyo after the former appealed Moyo’s recent acquittal by the Magistrate’s Court to the High Court.
Recently, Magistrate Lebogang Kebeetsweng acquitted Moyo of the offence of unlawful possession of a rhino horn for want of prosecution after the State wanted to further delay the matter from proceeding although the State was the one that laid charges against Moyo in 2012.
Following Moyo’s acquittal at the Magistrate’s Court, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) through attorneys Moffat Dick who was assisted by Koziba Nthanga, swiftly made an urgent application before Justice Matlhogonolo Phuthego to further withhold Moyo’s passport and the money he deposited when he applied for bail. When acquitting Moyo, Kebeetsweng also made an order directing the State to return Moyo’s passport and bail money.
The current urgent application happened when many thought that Moyo would regain his freedom and return to Zimbabwe where he originates.
If the State succeeds in its application, Moyo’s stay in Botswana may continue for months or even years since it is a well known fact that his case would first have to be transcribed before it is brought before Justice Phuthego.
In some dire situations, it took more than two years for appeals of prisoners to be heard at the High Court because their records from the lower courts had not been transcribed.
When motivating reasons why Moyo should not regain his freedom pending the hearing of the State’s appeal, the latter submitted that the Magistrate who presided over the matter at the court a quo (lower court), had no jurisdiction to hear the case because she has low sentencing powers.
On the other hand, Moyo through his attorney Kagiso Jani submitted that since Kebeetsweng has already heard the trial, she was competent to preside over the case and then later refer it to the High Court for sentencing. Jani further submitted that the matter was also referred to the Chief Magistrate Faith Dlamini-Ngandu who also ruled that Kebeetsweng should try the case and then refer it to the High Court for sentencing.
Jani went on: “There are procedures that the DPP can exhaust through Interpol to bring back Moyo to Botswana to stand trial in case the High Court upholds the State’s urgent application. Botswana and Zimbabwe have an extradition treaty that the former can exhaust to bring Moyo to justice.”
He added: “The continued confiscation of the respondent’s passport and bail money is greatly prejudicing him because the State is not even taking care of his living expenses in a foreign country.
Moyo is a family man who is supposed to be taking care of his wife and children, but he is unable to do so since the State instituted this urgent application”.
Justice Phuthego would deliver the ruling on the urgent application on July 4, 2019. According to a study entitled ‘Beyond Borders: Crime, conservation and criminal networks in illicit rhino horn trade’, that was carried out by the Global Initiative against Transactional Organised Crime, Moyo is alleged to be a holder of both Zimbabwe and Zambia passports.