Saturday, May 28, 2022

BNF petitioner’s literacy put on trial

Lobatse High Court Judge, Justice Michael Leburu, on Monday ruled that a member of the Botswana National Front (BNF), Rex Seherane, who is challenging the party’s President Duma Boko’s leadership in view of his (Boko and BNF) membership and leadership of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) should be in the witness box to give oral evidence to prove his literacy on 6th May.

Leburu made the ruling after lawyers acting for Boko and BNF moved an application stating that Seherane is an illiterate person.

Boko’s attorney, Mboki Chilisa of Collins and Chilisa Consultants, said Seherane’s affidavit has not been commissioned with the requirements order 13; that Seherane does not have a locus standi (the right to bring an action, to be heard in court).

“Order 13 is instructive as to how illiterate persons are to dispose of an affidavit and further provides that such an affidavit should be understood by the deponent. There is dispute to the fact as regards his literacy; he says he is able to read and write,” he said.┬á

Chilisa said the judge is empowered to call for order to resolve dispute of fact in respect of whether or not Seherane is literate. Chilisa also told the court that Seherane is being used by other people to advance their interests.

Replying, Seherane’s lawyer, Gabriel Kanjabanga, of Kanjabanga Attorneys, said there was a generalised averment that Seherane cannot read and write.

“Our position is that they should not make a generalised statement but place before the court evidence that the applicant cannot read and write,” said Kanjabanga. ┬áHe cited the Roy Sesana vs. the State case saying evidence was placed before the court that some applicants could not read and write.

“My learned friends had not done that. When they say there is dispute to fact, the honour is upon them to demonstrate and prove that he is illiterate, but now they want the respondent to place evidence before court for them,” he said.┬á

Kanjabanga also denied as untrue suggestion by Chilisa that Seherane was being used by other people to advance their interests saying the latter was a bonafide member of the BNF.

Chilisa also added that they did not have what other form of evidence Kanjabanga had in mind except their plea that Seherane should take to the witness box and give oral evidence by reading from one of the paragraphs from his affidavit.

Justice Leburu ordered that Seherane should appear before him on 6th May to give oral evidence.

Asked by Leburu if Seherane will not need to be subpoenaed, Kanjabanga said: “I can’t guarantee his attendance but I will tell him that he should appear before His Lordship.”


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