Khama is the target – Motlhabane

Portia Mlilo

Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Spokeperson, Justice Motlhabane who was arrested, tortured and charged with publishing false statements about COVID-19 has said that he has found out that he was not the primary target of the law enforcement officers but former president Ian Khama was.

Motlhabane, Letsogile Barupi, and Oarabile Dikologang are facing four counts of publishing statements with intention to deceive persons about COVID-19 infection and the use of offensive electronic communication.

Barupi is the administrator of Botswana Trending News while Dikologang administer People’s Daily News Facebook pages, which published the said false statements while Motlhabane is said to be the source.

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Speaking to The Voice in an interview, Motlhabani said that during his arrest, the police and security agents stripped him naked and tortured him. He said as they tortured him, they kept saying that he was the small fish who could lead them to the big fish, being BPF Patron Ian Khama and the party president Biggie Butale.

He said they even asked him if knew something about Khama’s suspected plot to topple president Masisi.

“About 30 police officers came to my house around 10pm on the 11th of April and banged doors and windows. When I opened they assaulted me. They took my phone, laptop and party documents. I was so traumatized. They went through party documents and said our party doesn’t have money and they won’t be able to bail me. They asked me where I got the information about articles that were published on Botswana Trending News but I wonder what makes them think I am linked to the page,” said Motlhabane

The Court heard that the three accused persons on or about the 6th of April acting together in concert published a statement through social media via Facebook page, Botswana Trending News titled: ‘Breaking, Masisi to pay BDP MPs P12 million each so that they can support State of Emergency.

The article is said to have been written with the intention to deceive its readers and any other person of the real intentions and measures taken by the government to address COVID-19.

On the second count, it is alleged the three still on the 6th of April published an article titled: ‘Possible war looming in Botswana as Masisi forces to implement State of Emergency’.

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It is alleged the publication was made with the intention to deceive its readers or any other person of the real intentions and measures taken by the government to address COVID-19.

On another count the accused persons on the 22nd of March allegedly published an article on Botswana Trending News Facebook page titled, ‘Botswana hiding Corona Virus cases to avoid causing unrest amongst the citizens.’

The article is said to be offensive in nature and was not intended for any legitimate communication, thereby disturbing the quite of the society.

On the forth charge it is alleged that on the 25th of January the three acting together in concert, willfully and maliciously used electronic communication via Facebook Page, Botswana Trending News and published a post with the heading: ‘DCEC boss living in fear as the DISS plan to eliminate the 100 billion mastermind.’

This communication is said to have been offensive in nature and was not intended for any legitimate communication thereby disturbing the peace and quiet of DCECE investigating officer, Jako Hubona.

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Regional Magistrate Goodwill Makofi granted the three bail on conditions that they shall each be released on their own cognizance of P10 000 and each avail two Batswana sureties who shall each bind themselves in the like sum.

He ordered that they shall not commit any offence whilst on bail and they shall not interfere with police investigations.

They shall also forfeit all of their travel documents to the Station Commander.

Magistrate Makofi further ordered the three to report themselves to the Station Commanders of their nearest police station once fortnightly on Fridays between the hours 0730 and 1630.

He said they should attend court sessions as and when required to do so.

They shall present themselves to Health Officials for assessment in line with Covid-19 regulations.

They will be back in court on July 30th for mention

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