Monday, September 28, 2020

BDF reinstates soldiers formerly charged with enforcing sex

The Botswana Defence Force has reinstated all three soldiers who were involved in the Zimbabwean group sex case while the special constables who were also part of the case have had their contracts with the Botswana Police Service not renewed.

Information reaching The Telegraph indicates that the BDF soldiers were reinstated after Lobatse High Court Judge Gabriel Rwelengera upheld their appeal last month. The three, Thato Bojosi, Moagi Sampson and Phetogo Gabanakobo are already back on duty.
BDF Director of Protocol and Public Relations Colonel Mogorosi Baatweng said that the three were reinstated on January 29. He further said that no disciplinary action will be taken against them.

“As far as we are concerned the matter is closed. The High Court has upheld their appeal and there will be no form of disciplinary action against them,” he said.

On the other hand, Deputy Commissioner of the Botswana Police Service, Kenneth Kapinga, has revealed that they have since parted ways with the two special constables who were involved in the case. The two, Sydney Ntope and Phetogo Gabanakobo, were released after their contracts with the Botswana police expired during the course of their trial.

“We have since parted ways with the men. Special constables’ contracts are valid for six months, and theirs expired during the course of their trial,” he said.
Kapinga declined to comment on whether the special constables’ contracts were not renewed because of the accusations that were leveled against them.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Kabo Leinaeng has revealed that they are still to decide whether or not they will appeal the high court decision.

“We have just received a copy of the judgment and we still have to study it before we decide whether to appeal or not,” he said.

The five men were alleged to have forced the Zimbabweans to have sex while they were patrolling in Ramotswa Village in 2007. They were arrested immediately after the incident. They were defended by, among others, Gaborone lawyers Tshiamo Rantao and Busang Manewe.

When upholding the appeal, Justice Rwelengera said that he is unable to dismiss the defense’s observation that the trial court proceeded on the premise that the offences had been committed in precisely the manner it was narrated in court. He said that this amounted to serious misdirection and irregularities which on the whole deprived the accused persons of a fair trial. He found that all the convictions are unsafe to uphold.

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