Monday, October 19, 2020

Kgoroba in court for throwing bottle in Parliament

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s Mogoditshane Member of Parliament Sedirwa Kgoroba has been summoned to the Gaborone Magistrate Court to answer to charges of “common assault”.

This follows the incident earlier this year in July when Kgoroba threw a bottle in Parliament that hit the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Kagiso Molatlhegi. Particulars of the offense are that “The accused person on the 12th of July 2016 at the House of Parliament, Gaborone in the Gaborone Administrative District of the Republic of Botswana unlawfully assaulted Kagiso Patrick Molatlhegi with a bottle of water on the stomach.”

While the incident has over the past couple of months been a source of jabs by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members of parliament, evoking fleeting moments of laughter in the House, the incident will no longer be a laughing matter on December 14.

“You are summonsed to …appear before the court at Extension 2 Magistrate Court on 14 December 2016 at 0800 hours in the forenoon to answer and abide the judgement of the Court upon the complaint and information of Director of Public Prosecutions who prosecutes in the name of the state,” the charge sheet reads. While acknowledging receipt of the summons Kgoroba told The Telegraph that he was not aware of who the complainant was.

The incident in question occurred when the Mogoditshane MP, in a fit of anger and frustration, threw a water bottle at Deputy Speaker Molatlhegi for failing to reprimand BDP MPs who took turns joking about the late UDC leader Gomolemo MotswalediÔÇ║s death.  

Kgoroba would later explain that Molatlhegi was just collateral damage. 

“The bottle was meant for Shaw Kgathi,” Kgoroba said following the incident.

The ruling party BDP MPs accused opposition members for what they said were growing incidents of unruly behaviour in the House. Leader of the House Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi would later say in a statement that the incident was totally unacceptable behaviour. Security has since been intensified in Parliament. Speaker of the National Assembly-Gladys Kokorwe and Molatlhegi have been accused by opposition MPs for failing to control and facilitate debates fairly in the house. Although tensions have reached boiling points before, it was the first time an MP had attacked another in full view of members of the public. Exactly a year to the month that Kgoroba threw the bottle, Gaborone Central MP and member of the UDC Dr Phenyo Butale was manhandled by government security officers and thrown outside the parliament building. Butale had wanted to present a private motion on water and power crisis but was stopped by Molatlhegi who said the motion would be tabled by Botswana Congress Party (BCP)’s Ditlhapelo Keorapetse of Selebi Phikwe West. Contributing to the debate on the procedure of parliament another UDC MP, Haskins Nkaigwa, said Butale’s motion was urgent suggesting that Keorapetse’s was a mere question to the minister responsible for water and energy. The debate on the matter got ugly and invited the use of strong words from around the house.

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