Controversy surrounds Bots opposition leader’s fatal crash
Gaborone ‑ Botswana opposition leaders are planning to engage a private forensic pathologist and vehicle accident expert to investigate the death of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) president, Gomolemo Motswaledi, ahead of elections billed for October this year.
Motswaledi reportedly died in a vehicle crash on August 30, near the Ramatlabama border on the Botswana side while travelling from South Africa to Gaborone.
BMD Secretary-General, Wynter Mmolotsi, told reporters recently that they have reasonable suspicion that the BMD leader was killed. “Hence, there is need for independent investigation to clear this suspicion and the independent inquiry would be done in the pursuit of truth, especially during the current political atmosphere,” he said.
Botswana National Front (BNF) president, Duma Boko, who is also leader of opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change of which BMD is a member, said they have consulted Motswaledi’s family and were given the green light to carry out an independent investigation into his death.
Motswaledi’s death comes at a time when opposition leaders had claimed that there was an intelligence hit-list ‑ claims that government and security agents have dismissed.
BMD Youth League president, Phenyo Mokete Segokgo, on August 31 told the Press that Motswaledi’s death cannot be treated as an isolated and unsuspicious act of nature and called for an independent investigation into his death.
“We demand an independent investigation into his death and we cannot trust state security apparatus to conduct a fair investigation because they are under (President Ian) Khama’s control. Until evidence is produced to the contrary, we (see) Motswaledi’s death as an act of criminality,” he said.
He reiterated the existence of an alleged hit-list and declared that they will not accept Motswaledi’s death as an act of God until evidence is produced to the contrary through a transparent investigation.
For his part, Kemmonye Makatane, President of BNF Youth League, said it is now time to declare openly that Motswaledi was killed and start talking about “the killing of Motswaledi” instead of “the death of Motswaledi”.
The youth leaders also called on Batswana youth and civil society to join them, as they intensify campaigns against the current regime by holding massive demonstrations and public rallies in the whole country.
The Botswana Police Service spokesperson, Christopher Mbulawa, said in a statement that they have noted that while investigations are continuing to determine the cause of the accidents, some newspapers, groups and individuals using social media have drawn conclusion and peddling information that mislead the nations.
Mbulawa said the investigations on Motswaledi’s death are still ongoing and no determination has been made yet about the cause of the accident.
A number of newspapers in Botswana have zoomed in on Motswaledi’s death asking questions about the fatal mishap. Mmegi newspaper wondered if Motswaledi died in a vehicle accident or it was part of the hit list that opposition leaders had alleged was in the pipeline recently.
The Botswana Guardian quoted party activist, Sedirwa Kgoroba, as saying that they would launch an independent forensic investigation because they suspect that there was foul play.
The Voice newspaper screamed “Who killed Motswaledi?” The paper quoted independent sources as saying that Motswaledi’s fatal crash was a simulated accident.
Motswaledi, who was also the vice-president of the opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change, was viewed as the uniting force behind the opposition coalition, which is expected to cause a major upset in the coming elections.