President Ian Khama has reportedly rejected a request by Cabinet to conduct an inquest into Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD)’s President Gomolemo Motswaledi who died in a controversial car crash, it has emerged.
It is understood that Cabinet ministers had suggested an inquest should be conducted to establish the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of the BMD leader.
They also felt it was important to exonerate government in the face of growing public suspicions and conspiracy theories.
Sources have also disclosed that the death of Motswaledi just a few weeks before General Elections has not gone down well with some ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s Member of Parliament candidates who believe the public anger stemming from it puts their chances at risk.
It is also understood that those who are in support of an inquest are those who are contesting where the ruling party has marginal constituencies.
There is growing concern among democrats that a groundswell of the electorate is likely to be sympathetic to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) during the elections as they still believe that Motswaledi’s death could have been politically motivated.
While he said he was not aware of Cabinet’s request for an inquest, BMD Secretary General Wynter Mmolotsi confirmed that a considerable number of BDP members are also for the idea of an inquest.
“I haven’t heard about the Cabinet’s request but what I know is that there are some BDP members who were thinking that the government should conduct an inquest,” said Mmolotsi.
He said BDP members told him that if they had their way, an inquest would have been the first to consider.
“They told me that if they were a head of state that should have been the first thing to consider. But there is nothing they can do lest they risk being accused of bringing the party’s name into disrepute. They cannot speak out,” said Mmolotsi.
He added that the BMD had also considered the idea of an inquest but President Khama was the one empowered to institute such an inquest.
He said their position as the BMD is that President Khama should have considered an inquest rather than issuing statements that are aimed at discrediting the BMD and UDC.
Mmolotsi was referring to President Khama’s apology to the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando leader over Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) youth’s alleged threats that saw Saleshando leaving Motswaledi’s funeral midway though he was scheduled to speak at the funeral.
The UDC has flatly denied intimidating Saleshando.
“Instead of issuing statements that are meant to divert attention, the President should have opened an inquest into the death of BMD President Cde Motswaledi,” said Mmolotsi.