President Lt Gen Ian Khama has reinstated suspended Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General Gomolemo Motswaledi to the party central committee and as Gaborone Central Parliamentary candidate unconditionally.
This follows an out of court agreement reached between Khama and Motswaledi’s camps Tuesday afternoon. Motswaledi launched a court action against the BDP and president Khama, challenging his suspension. He also demanded reinstatement as party parliamentary candidate.
A source close to the Sunday Standard has disclosed that Khama is expected to make a public statement announcing the agreement.
Motswaledi was suspended from the party earlier this month.. Although Khama stated that Motswaledi’s suspension was a disciplinary move, Motswaledi’s maintains that it was a slight of hand by the party president to shift the party balance of power towards Khama’s A-team faction. The A- Team faction lost all Central Committee positions at a recent party congress in Kanye.
The settlement has denied the courts an opportunity to make a pronouncement on Khama’s powers. This has left the issue hanging, and it is feared may come back to bite the party in future. More than half of the BDP central Committee feels that Khama has on many instances acted beyond his powers. This position was supported by Advocate Sidney Pilane. Advocate Peter Collins also gave the BDP an opinion which the Central Committee members interpreted as supporting their position..
Khama on the other hand insists that he has at all times acted within his powers. This position is supported by Khama’s personal lawyers, Collins Newman & Co who also happen to be BDP lawyers.
Another question that has been left hanging is whether a sitting president can be sued. The issue has come to the fore twice in the past three months and each time the courts were denied an opportunity to make a decision because the disputes between the president and the parties to litigation were settled without going to court.
Motswaledi had cited Khama as the second respond in his law suit. Khama in his defence maintained that he enjoyed immunity as president of Botswana.
The question first came up when Khama threatened a defamation suit against Sunday Standard newspaper. The Sunday Standard in turned indicated that it would file a counter suit against the president.