Speaker of the National Assembly Gladys Kokorwe will be put on the stand at the Lobatse high Court where she will be grilled on her decision to expunge UDC president, Duma Boko’s official statement from the parliament Hansard.
This follows Boko’s decision last week to file a law suit against Kokorwe for maliciously expunging his official statement from the Hansard.
Lawyers acting for the UDC president, Collins Chilisa Consultants have served Kokorwe and the Attorney General Athaliah Molokomme with a writ of summons to defend an application for the review and setting aside of the Speaker’s decision.
Kokorwe, whose handling of Parliament proceedings has become a lightning rod of controversy, may finally have her day in court where her competence will be on trial.
Kokorwe is expected to take the stand at the High Court in Lobatse before Justice Zein Kebonang where she will be grilled by attorney Mboki Chilisa on claims that her decision was motivated by bad faith.
Also expected to take the stand is Francistown MP Ignatius Moswaane.
In a strongly worded document, Boko described the Speaker’s decision as “grossly irregular, unlawful and unconstitutional.” He further charged that “allowing the motion seeking to expunge my official statement to be debated on an urgent basis was a grossly unreasonable and egregious or mala fide exercise of discretion.”
This was after Kokorwe allowed debate on an urgent motion by Francistown MP Ignatius Moswaane to have Boko’s statement made five months earlier on Botswana China relations expunged from the Hansard in its entirety.
In his court document, Boko UDC dismissed Moswaane as “a virtual illiterate whose intellectual competence and academic credentials….. are questionable.”
Boko says Kokorwe “not only allowed said motion to be debated but presided over an unconstitutional and unlawful charade at the end of which she put said motion to a vote which was a collection of voices as determined by her hearing abilities or lack thereof.”
Boko charges that the motion to expunge his official statement from the Hansard was “incompetent in every respect, unlawful and unconstitutional and permitting it and admitting it for debate on the floor of Parliament was an unlawful abdication” of Kokorwe’s constitutional and legal responsibilities.
The UDC president says the decision to expunge his statement from parliament records breached his constitutional right to freedom of expression and to impart alternative views and perspectives to the public.
“It is a gross violation of the very tenets of free speech and multi-party democracy to censor and expunge views and statements from the opposition at the whims of the ruling party majority and on the mere basis that the ruling party majority has decided, based on party affiliation, or other basis not recognised in law, that sentiments expressed by a Member of Parliament were not researched properly, contained false information and hard relations between countries, and all this said by a virtual illiterate whose intellectual competence and academic credentials to so much as make such judgement are questionable”, he states.
Boko points out that Kokorwe denied him the right to speak during the debate on the motion to expunge his official statement.
“”to take said decisions and do so without so much as affording me a right to speak during the deliberations despite my presence and during the deliberations despite my presence and my persistent rising to request that I be permitted to speak, was a flagrant violation of my right to be granted audience by those who were hell bent on taking a decision that was clearly adverse to me and my interests.”
He said whilst the ruling party may feel entitled to use its majority to score cheap political points majoritarian tyranny must not be given room in multi party democracy especially in Parliament and be employed to deny the public the right to receive accurate and correct information on the deliberations of the National assembly. Such information is only available through the Hansard.