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Khama joins Kamal, ready to testify against BDP

Publishing Date : 18 December, 2018

Author : DAVE BAAITSE

This week former president, Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama confirmed to WeekendPost that he is ready to testify in court against Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in a landmark case where Kamal Jacobs is challenging President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s legitimacy as party president.


The case was withdrawn last week after Jacobs’s attorneys sought with the court to go and make amendments in their filling affidavits and they have since refiled this week. Former president Khama is expected to testify in court on whether he did resign as BDP president and therefore opening a vacancy to be filled by his then Vice President in Government, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi or not. Masisi has since became the state President but Kamal is only questioning his status as party leader.


When presenting the Khama enjoiner proposal, Kamal Jacobs’ lawyer, Kagisano Tamocha asked court to postpone the matter to allow for consultation with Khama to physically come to court to testify against Masisi and BDP or at least pen an affidavit in support of his application questioning Masisi’s legitimacy as party president.


The former President says his lawyers advised him that indeed it is the BDP who should write the affidavit and provide proof of any written letter if indeed he resigned. He confirmed that failure to do so the court will have to ask him to come and testify, a move which he confirmed that he is prepared to take.  “My client is not saying Masisi is not the president of the BDP but that we want clarity as to who is the president, that’s all,” Jacobs’s attorney told WeekendPost outside court.


He continued to state that they only want the court to assist interpret the BDP constitution on the party presidency which is in dispute while adding that they contend that former state President Khama did not resign his position as party president and therefore he still holds the position. “We have never been in contact with Khama to enjoin in the matter but we thought his coming in would assist tell the court with regard to whether he resigned or not because the presidency of Masisi can only come where there is a vacancy. When there is a vacancy, the VP takes over as party president. We believe the last president to be elected party president was and still is Khama at Ave Maria during a party congress in Gaborone,” Tamocha observed.


When Jacobs’ lawyer asked Justice Christopher Gabanagae to postpone the matter to allow for Khama to be enjoined, he briefly and out rightly ruled against the application. “So the refusal to enjoin Khama in the case by the judge Chris Gabanagae then killed everything together,” Tamocha highlighted. He was also worried that the application was objected to by the Judge without giving Khama an opportunity to state whether he would like to be enjoined into the proceedings or not.


According to Jacobs’ lawyer, they also believed that Masisi would either have to withdraw his immunity under section 41 of the country’s constitution to allow for a proper determination of the question brought forth in relation to the presidency of the BDP. He said this bearing in mind that one of their prayers to court were seeking that the sitting of Committees of the Central Committee including the Committee headed by the 4th respondent (Peter Siele) in terms of article 33 of the constitution of the 1st respondent, and the appeals committee is not proper because they have not been appointed by a substantive president, whom they believe it should have been Khama and not Masisi.


“This was one of our strongest points for our case. But the tactic didn’t work for Khama to enjoin as it was prematurely dismissed.” When opposing Jacobs' request for a postponement, BDP lawyer Basimane Bogopa of Bogopa, Manewe, Tobedza and Company said Jacobs had known all along that Khama was integral to his case. And therefore should have made his mind on whether to continue with the case or not and not delay case just to withdraw at last minute.


His partner, Busang Manewe also pointed out that Jacobs and his lawyer did not get proper advice as they have all known that the president of country cannot be sued both in his official and private capacity which include as acting as BDP president per section 41 (1) of the constitution of Botswana. The BDP submitted that the case be dismissed and costs be awarded against Jacobs. However he promised that the case will be re-instituted and will come back stronger and with more solid points.


In the matter BDP was cited as the 1st respondent, 2nd respondent being President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi while the 3rd is Peter Siele in his capacity as BDP Electoral Board chairperson. The 4th respondent is Kingsley Sebele the Appeal’s Board chairperson, and the 5th is the regional chairperson for BDP Southern region; while Thapelo Matsheka the Lobatse parliamentary primary winner is the 6th respondent with Khama enjoined in lately as the 7th respondent. 


The election for the BDP parliamentary candidate in Lobatse was contested by Matsheka who garnered 1,376 votes, the incumbent Lobatse legislator Sadique Kebonang only got 1,073 votes while Jacobs amassed only 1,219 votes. Another candidate Lone Bome attained 66 votes, Patrick Kebailele got 218 and Ahmed Shabeer Ishmail only attained 317 votes cast.        

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