Village Magistrate Ephraith Ndengwa recently fined Blessing Mokgalajwe, a Botswana Democratic Party council hopeful for Gaphatshwe, P4000, or six months imprisonment, for the unlawful possession of dagga, weighing 5,308 kg.
Ndengwa, in her judgment, said that she finds that state witnesses were truthful in their evidence that dagga was found in front of his Phase Two house.
His neighbour, she said, had told the court that he was the inhabitant of the house where the dagga was found, adding that evidence showed that he was not a lodger or a subtenant of the house where the dagga was found, as he claimed.
The Magistrate also said that the state had been able to show that the substance found in the accused’s house was dagga, and not hedge leafs as the accused person had claimed. She said that after carefully analyzing the state witnesses’ evidence, she had found them to be credible witnesses as their evidence corroborated each other’s. Besides that, she said that she didn’t see any reason why the witnesses would cook up stories on what the accused person had told the police during his house search and on what items were found in different rooms of the accused’s house.
Ndengwa also said that she disagreed with the accused’s story that he did not have anything to do with the dagga, which was found in his house. She questioned why the police search had shown that the accused person had a lot of money in his house if he did not have any business in the house. This, she said, gave credit to the evidence that the accused person had, during the searching of his house by the police, told them that he was operating a business selling DVDs and cassettes at the bus station.
The Magistrate noted that the Court agreed with the police that the accused person was the person who threw out the big bag that was found to contain dagga in front of the house as the police were approaching.
Mokgalajwe was given two weeks to pay the fine or to face six months imprisonment.
Commenting on the matter, an official of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Ngatangue Mukungu, said that she did not know about the particular issue but that Mokgalajwe would be eligible to stand for elections after he had paid the fine.
”In accordance with our laws, there will be nothing preventing him to stand for the elections after paying the fine,” she said.
Commenting on the issue, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party Deputy Secretary General, Fedelis Molao, denied any knowledge of the case. Asked what the general rule in such a matter is, he said that as long as the IEC rules allow such a person to stand for elections then his party would also allow him to stand.