Thursday, May 19, 2022

So many questions in Motswaledi’s death

Independent experts in forensic pathology, ballistic and accident reconstruction arrived this week to determine the probable cause of Gomolemo Motswaledi’s car accident along with government appointed medical personnel.

The Telegraph spoke to a criminal law expert and lecturer at the University of Botswana Patrick Gunda, a former advisor of President Ian Khama’s between 2008 and 2011, to dissect why there is so much public anger directed at the State before investigations into Gomolemo’s death have been concluded.

What do you read into the public anger over Motswaledi’s death?
Gomolemo was not an ordinary person. His status in politics is quite elevate, hence his demise would cause people to wonder and ask themselves questions and make all manner of assumptions some of which will be credible while others are fanciful. In all these conjectures we have to respect the privacy and sanctity of the departed.

Is the anger that we see directed at the State justified?
Remember we are going to the elections. Because of the timing of the elections and his departure on the eve of elections, it is natural that people will come up with a lot of ideas and suggestions. All of these would ordinarily be called conspiracy theories.

Why should the nation trust the government?
We do have systems in place such as the police and medical personnel who we hope will do their best in an endeavour to find out what happened. Even then some grey areas will always linger in. Some people’s mind, despite the outcome of an autopsy, will always seek to blame someone for Motswaledi’s death other than what the autopsy report says. That is our society.

What should investigators be looking at?
Some people in his party [The Botswana Movement for Democracy] say he had a meeting with some people in South Africa but the Democratic Alliance says there was no such scheduled meeting. Was he on a private mission so that he would have told his party colleagues that he had a meeting when he was on a private mission? Did he communicate with anyone about his departure for example his girlfriend or wife? Was he communicating with that girlfriend? How strong was the bond between him and the girlfriend? Where did he spend the night in South Africa? Who did he meet in South Africa? Where did he have dinner? Why did he go to South Africa and to do what? Was he on leave at the University of Botswana where he is employed? Who he was going to meet in South Africa and for what?

Are there any dots that need to be connected?
There a lot of things that would need to be explored. In the exploration process, you do an elimination exercise where you group the good stuff and discard the chaff. But you don’t just discard the chaff. You preserve it because there may be cases in the future with the same dimension. Assuming he arrived at the Ramatlabama border between 8 and 9 in the morning, when did he leave wherever he slept? Assuming he left Johannesburg travelling to Ramatlabama then he must have left very early because of the distance between Johannesburg and Ramatlabama border since there is normally heavy traffic. What did he have for breakfast? He might have eaten food that is poisonous to cause him to become dizzy. People generally assume he may have crossed at Ramatlabama border. It is possible he crossed elsewhere or he could have been caused to cross at Ramatlabama. It is not conclusive evidence that he crossed at Ramatlabama border.

*Gunda studied Criminal law both in Botswana and Scotland at Edinburgh University where he also studied Forensic Medicine. He also studied International Criminal Law at Stellenbosch University.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper