The outgoing Southern Regional Magistrate, Lot Moroka, has recused himself from presiding over two criminal cases involving Bakgatla’s royals in preparation for the High Court job as a judge.
In the first case, Bakgatla Paramount Chief Kgafela Kgafela, his young brother, Mmusi, and 13 others are facing charges of having assaulted some people in Kgatleng District.
The other one is where the President of Customary Court of Appeal, Mothibe Lentswe, and seven other tribesmen are facing charges of having allegedly destroyed a Mascom cellular phone transmitter in Mochudi.
Moroka referred all the cases to current Gaborone Chief Magistrate Barnabas Nyamazabo.
Moroka apparently will not be taking up new cases but is expected to continue with some cases he had been presiding over, such as the high profile corruption case against the former high ranking employee of Debswana, Joe Matome, and Garvas Nchindo, the son of the late Debswana Managing Director, Louis Nchindo.
Earlier on, the accused Bakgatla all asked the Court to give them time to study charges they are facing before making a plea. They asked the court to order that they be given all the statements of the witnesses the state intends to call in the matter.
In the past two weeks, the local media reported story after story on Kgafela and his young brother and 13 others’ failure to appear in Court and the warrants of arrest that were issued against them.
The accused persons finally appeared in Court, ending the drama, and asked for forgiveness, saying the whole thing was caused by a misunderstanding between them and the prosecution, led by Kgosi Ngakayagae.
Moroka heeded their pleas and ordered them to appear without failure on Monday, which they did.
Gaborone advocate Sydney Pilane is defending them and is being assisted by Sadique Kebonang.