President Mokgweetsi Masisi this week declared lawyer Joao Carlos Salbany a prohibited immigrant in a move that suggests the new president is not walking his talk.
The decision comes a month after Salbany’s cellular phone and laptop were stolen when his house in Pretoria was broken into. At the time he was engaged by the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) for legal advice in a case in which they were challenging Masisi’s automatic succession as unconstitutional.
Masisi had earlier indicated that he welcomed the challenge on the constitutionality of his president because it helped strengthen Botswana’s democracy.
“I’m not worried about the case at all. Let the law take its course. In addition to that the case will strengthen democratic credentials of the country that Botswana is well known for,” he said while addressing a recent Botswana Democratic Party press conference.
He told journalists that, Botswana was founded on constitutional values and principles that were followed adding that if there was any anomaly with the constitution, it would be corrected.
“It doesn’t bother me at all. Let them (Botswana Congress Party) go ahead with the case. What I know is that my appointment is consistent with the laws of this country,” he said.
Salbany was also engaged by the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) for professional advice in their planned march against corruption. Masisi has also vowed to fight corruption, stating “We remain committed to fighting corruption, in order to safeguard the hopes and dreams of all Batswana for current and future generations.”
Salbany’s laptop and cellular phone which were stolen during the robbery at his family house in Pretoria (South Africa) contained all his communications with the BCP and BOFEPUSU which he believed were protected by the client lawyer confidentiality.
Salbany confirmed to the Sunday Standard that he was convinced that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services was behind the robbery.
Intelligence reports passed to the Sunday Standard revealed that a Military Intelligence agent was assigned by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services in 2011 to break into the late Gomolemo Motswaledi’s house and steal his ipad. It emerged during the investigations that the DISS also assigned its agents to break into deported academic, Professor Kenneth Good and steal his laptop in 2005. Sunday Standard investigations have established that house breakings are part of the DISS modus operandi to steal electronic and other data storing equipment.
Ironically, Salbany represented Professor Good in a case in which the former university of Botswana lecturer was challenging his deportation from Botswana. At the time Salbany was working for Bayfords and Associates, before government refused to renew his work and residence permits.
Professor Good, who had worked at Botswana University for fifteen years before his deportation, had both his computers stolen in separate incidents within ten days of each other. Motswaledi who was Botswana Movement for Democracy founding president died in a freak car accident in Pitsane in 2014. Good on the other hand was deported because he was seen as a ‘threat to national security’ over his links with Survival International.
Former President, Festus Mogae told the media that Professor Good and Survival International Director Stephen Corry had ‘written numerous documents in which they described Botswana’s diamonds as blood diamonds.’
Professor Good on the other hand insisted that, ‘I have never described Botswana’s diamonds as ‘blood diamonds’, nor have I ever ‘teamed up’ with Survival International to sabotage Botswana’s ‘diamonds for development’ campaign. I have certainly exchanged correspondence with Survival, as I have with a huge number of academics, journalists, and other NGOs. The only way Mr Mogae would know of my email correspondence is if the government had seen the contents of my computers.’” The content Professor Good was referring to was in the laptop computer that was stolen during the burglary in his house.
Salbany confirmed to the Sunday standard that he learnt Saturday morning that he had been declared a prohibited immigrant in Botswana.