Saturday, December 3, 2022

DIS pleaded with me to take the fall – Matsheka

The Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) agents tried to convince Lobatse Legislator Dr Thapelo Matsheka to take the fall for the missing child’s disappearance.

In an effort to save face amid growing public discontent about the whereabouts of Tlotso Karema, Matsheka’s interrogators are said to have asked him to own up to the child’s “kidnapping” and promising to release the child from their custody following his confession, the former Finance minister has told Sunday Standard.

While it remains unclear what the Lobatse Member of Parliament (MP) would benefit from the deal, Matsheka claims his interrogators told him the missing child was kept somewhere in South Africa.

Matsheka (who says he was shocked to learn he had been arrested in relation to the missing child) says he was surprised to learn from the DIS agents that the missing child was ‘in fact’, alive.

“All the people who were arrested before me were pressured into incriminating me for the disappearance,” Matsheka told Sunday Standard.

In a previous interview with this publication Matsheka also raised concerns about the timing of his arrest (Tuesday August 2, 2022) and subsequent denial of his freedom three days later. The Lobatse MP believes the motivation behind the timing of his arrest may have been premised on the then impending Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) national youth congress in Bobonong the following weekend.

The congress served as a curtain raiser for the party’s Central Committee elections in Tsabong three weeks later (August 26-28) at which elections Matsheka was strongly believed to be one of the main sympathisers (if not candidate) of the chairmanship candidate Nonofo Molefhi led faction.

While the State’s attempt to extend Matsheka’s detention for the second time failed on Friday August 5, their spirited fight was enough to keep him from the Bobonong youth congress which was believed to be a litmus test for the Tsabong congress.

“For me this was a rude awakening that nobody is immune to illegal detentions,” Matsheka said of the arrest, adding that he believes the arrest was politically motivated to harm his political ambitions.

Matsheka’s latest revelations follow High Court judge Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe’s letter of complaint to President Mokgweetsi Masisi that Minister of State President Kabo Morwaeng and Chief Justice Terrence Rannowane had attempted to influence his decision in the Lobatse MP’s case.

Matsheka’s wife successfully filed an application with the Lobatse High Court demanding that her husband be released from detention, which ruling was made by Ketlogetswe on Saturday August 6, 2022. Judge Ketlogetswe alleges that Morwaeng and Rannowane had put pressure on him to rule against Matsheka and keep him in custody.

Justice Ketlogetswe says he feels he has been unfairly treated by both the Chief Justice Rannowane and the Minister of State President. He says it is his considered view that the Chief Justice and the Minister’s meddling in the Matsheka case is “completely wrong and unacceptable, and constitutes an affront on the exercise of judicial independence by a Judge of the High Court and calls for appropriate action.” In his ruling on the Matsheka case on August 6, Justice Ketlogetswe said the position of the law in Botswana is such that all arrests, being interference with the subject’s constitutionally protected right to liberty, are prima facie unlawful, unless the arrest is founded on a reasonable and probable cause. “The burden to justify an arrest and detention lies with the person who would have effected same, in this case, the DIS and Botswana Police.”

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