Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) central committee members who are sympathetic to Barata-Phathi faction have agreed to engage South African Advocate Win Trengrove in their planned case against President Lt Gen Ian Khama.
This follows Khama’s decision to suspend party Secretary General, Gomolemo Motswaledi, for 60 days and stopping him from contesting the Gaborone Central parliamentary elections under the BDP ticket.
Trengrove is being instructed by Cyril Ziman and Associates a local firm of attorneys who are acting for the BDP faction.
Trengrove is the leading advocate in the region and his appearance is a sine qua non for almost every major case, ranging from the death penalty (he argued successfully for its abolition) to his representation of Nelson Mandela, in his divorce action against his wife, Winnie, and the prosecution of Jacob Zuma for alleged fraud.
Trengrove, has been quoted in the South African media as claiming to have “a more exciting practice than any other advocate in South Africa”. Perhaps inevitably, the exciting cases have been those involving Mandela.
One such case involved a clash between president Mandela and the South African rugby chief and fertilizer king, Louis Luyt, over a commission of inquiry into racism in the game.
Scores of central committee members who are sympathetic to Barata-Phathi faction met today at 12:30 where the possibility of challenging Khama in court was mooted. One of the central committee members told Sunday Standard after the meeting that “after all that has happened, legal action is inevitable”.
Motswaledi was slapped with a 60-day suspension this morning for allegedly putting the party and its president into disrepute with his recent public statements. This comes after Motswaledi wrote a letter distancing the party from a press statement by party lawyers, Collins Newman & Company, endorsing Khama’s controversial unilateral decisions. The law firm was allegedly acting on instructions from president Khama.
Acting on instructions from the party central committee, Motswaledi had initially written to the party lawyers and two other local advocates asking for legal opinion on whether Khama has the constitutional authority to make some of the controversial decisions that he has been making.
Advocate Sidney Pilane and Advocate Peter Collins concur that Khama did not have the constitutional authority to make the decisions. Collins Newman & Company, who is both BDP lawyers and Khama’s personal attorneys, however, preempted central committee discussions on the divisive issue and flighted press statements in the media last week, maintaining that Khama had the constitutional authority to make the decisions. A Central Committee member who is sympathetic to Barata-Phathi faction told Sunday Standard that “by the end of the day we would have decided whether to take Khama to court or not, but we are most likely to go the route of legal action, after all that has happened, legal action is inevitable”.