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Dismissed cop says Motswaledi murder utterances were not directed at Khama

Sharon Mathala

A Police officer who was dismissed from work has sought the High Court’s intervention after he was fired by Police Commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe for utterances he allegedly made against the then President, Ian Khama.

The officer, Desmond Mokgele, approached the court last year for a review application on the case.

The matter was heard before a Lobatse High Court last week Thursday.

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Mokgele and another are accused of having at their work station at the Mabutsane Police station-near where the body of Botswana Movement for Democracy leader was found in a fatal car crash, uttered the words “Ian ke cross ya Leburu, Mosarwa le Mongwato. Le gone ba thula batho ka dikoloi, motho yo o bolaya batho ke ene a bolaileng Motswaledi. (‘Ian is a cross of a Boer, a San and a Mongwato and they knock down people with vehicles, he kills people and he is the one who killed Motswaledi’ or words to that effect).

According to the charge sheet, after uttering those words, a week later when confronted by their superiors, the two accused did not retreat.

On count two the charge sheet reads that “on 30th September 2014 at Mabutsane Police station acting jointly together in common purpose, both used disrespectful words to a police officer senior in rank to them whereby the following words were uttered to Mr Baatweng; ‘lepodisi le la kgotla lea tlwaela, rona re bo comrade ga oa rutega’.”

According to facts of the case, on October 6 2014 Mokgele and another were then suspended from work pending the outcome of the disciplinary hearing which was then set for November 26, 2014.

At the end of the disciplinary hearing Mokgele and his co-accused were convicted on both counts and the disciplinary board recommended to the Commissioner of Police Makgope that they pay a fine of P300 each on the first count for alleging that Khama is a killer and that he killed Motswaledi.

On the second count the two were fined P200 coupled with a written warning letter.

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The Voice is further informed that on August 18th the following year the Commissioner of Police then upheld the conviction from the disciplinary board but went further and fired the two.

Mokgele and his co-accused then appealed their dismissal and their appeal was dismissed by the trial board.

On 17 July 2017 they approached the High Court for a condonation of late filing review, which was granted last year August 1st.

Last Thursday the case resumed at the Lobatse High Court Tomorrow in Lobatse High Court as Mokgele sought to be reinstated, arguing that the conviction and sentence by the disciplinary board had no legal basis.

He further argues that the Police did not fully disclose the names of the person he is alleged to have offended.

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“The only reference to the name in the particulars of the offence is the word Ian. Therefore, when the witnesses testified that it referred to the former President of Botswana when the particulars do not disclose this fact is inadequate for purposes of conviction by the disciplinary board.”

“The same applies to reference in the particulars of the offence to motho yo o bolaya batho. There is no reference at all to the former President Ian Khama in the phrase,” he further argues.

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