The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) commander, Lieutenant General Placid Segokgo’s warrant of arrest was finally struck off the record on Wednesday before the Court of Appeal (CoA) bench.
High Court Judge, Zein Kebonang had issued a warrant of arrest for Lieutenant General Segokgo in December 2016 for failure to obey a court order to reinstate a couple that was fired from the BDF for what the army had argued was an inappropriate relationship between an officer and a junior soldier.
On Wednesday, the couple’s attorney, Othusitse Mbeha told the CoA Bench made up of Judge President Ian Kirby, Judge Monametsi Gaongalelwe and Justice Singh Kirby that they decided not to pursue the matter further as the warrant was issued on account that he (Segokgo) had refused to reinstate the couple, something which he has since complied with.
Back then the BDF boss had argued that he did not violate any court order because he had previous meetings with the two soldiers, Lieutenant Thabang Tlhapisang and her boyfriend, Private Kazondu Cisqou Uariaua to discuss way forward.
“It is clear therefore 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,” he told the court.
The two lovers subsequently nicknamed BDF Romeo and Juliet were each charged on August 22, 2014 with a single count of conducting themselves in a manner that was prejudicial of good order and military discipline contrary to the BDF Act.
Subsequent to that, the duo was dismissed from the military on October 28, 2014 through a letter dated October 27, 2014.
Tlhapisa was a Second Lieutenant while Uariua was a private based at the Sir Seretse Khama Barracks. The couple has since been reinstated but the matter will return to court on April 18 for court to make a ruling on costs.