Watch your mouth!

Leungo Mokgwathi

Retired soldiers unimpressed with Masisi’s ‘misleading’ remarks

Say HE’s Palapye address was in contempt of court

Retired soldiers have slammed President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s speech at the BDP Congress in Palapye earlier this month, insisting it was unlawful and hinting they make take legal action over what they view as contempt of court.

Expressing their displeasure at Masisi’s ill-chosen words, A R E Itshekeng (ARI) Social Club held a heated press briefing on Monday.

Set-up to oversee pension issues involving retired BDF members, the group felt they had no option but to publically correct ‘factual inaccuracies’ in HE’s speech.

A written statement signed by ARI Chairman Retired Major General, Moeng Pheto described the speech as, “Misleading and scathing against some members of ARI, especially its leadership.”

In their statement, ARI rebutted HE’s claims that had it not been for certain individuals who painted his initiative as a BDP political gaming, he would have long solved the pension issue as he had promised on 8 June 2019 during the ruling party’s elective AGM in Mahalapye.

According to ARI, while the President had claimed to be keen to engage with the newly elected Botswana Defence Force Retired Members Association (BDFRMA) office bearers, repeated efforts to meet with Masisi failed, with no acknowledgement of their official request by the Office of the President.

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The association went on to rubbish HE’s ‘distasteful’ remarks that ARI collects money from the widows of the military retirees to pay lawyers.

ARI’s statement recalled instructions given to them, advising them to refrain from publicly discussing matters before the court as failure to do so would put them at risk of contempt.

“It was therefore surprising to hear the President publicly discussing our case at the BDP Congress which was even broadcast live on the national and private press. We wonder if the Executive has usurped the powers of the Judiciary. Will the head of the Executive be called to account for contempt of court?”

In light of widespread speculation that both BDFRMA and ARI might be a politically motivated onslaught against the government, both have maintained theirs is a pursuit of justice regarding their pension grievances.

“We may belong to different political organisations, but we belonged to one Defence Force and were all deprived of our pension dues.”

They further note that the authorities’ failure to entertain any form of mediation influenced their decision to seek redress from the courts.

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The litigation continues at the Gaborone High Court on 19 September.

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