POLITICIANS Mothetjoa Metsing and Selibe Mochoboroane’s latest High Court application to stop the state from trying them for treason and murder alongside former army commander Tlali Kamoli and others has been postponed to 25 June 2021.
The matter was supposed to have been heard on Tuesday by Botswana Judge, Onkemetse Tshosa. He however, decided to postpone it due to the absence of the duo’s lawyer, Advocate Motiea Teele.
The hearing which led to the postponement was conducted in Justice Tshosa’s chambers. The Lesotho Times subsequently learnt from prosecutor, Adv Naki Nku, that they had agreed to the postponement after Adv Teele notified them that he had an “unavoidable” family emergency to attend to. He could therefore not be in court.
Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane argue that they cannot be summarily joined to the treason and murder trial. They argue that they cannot be tried in the High Court without first being remanded in the magistrates’ court as demanded by the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.
They initially filed a High Court application challenging the decision to join them to the trial in February 2021. But Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane declined to make a ruling and referred the matter back to the trial Judge Tshosa. Justice Sakoane ruled that only Justice Tshosa had the jurisdiction to determine Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane’s application. Unhappy with the decision, the duo then appealed to the Court of Appeal.
In the apex court, they also challenged the Constitutional Court’s November 2020 judgement outlawing clause 10 of the October 2018 SADC-brokered government-opposition agreement which sought to shield them and other politicians from prosecution until after the implementation of the multi-sector reforms.
In the Court of Appeal’s 14 May 2021 judgement read out by its president, Justice Kananelo Mosito, the apex court said it had resolved to dismiss Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane’s appeal against the Constitutional Court verdict on the grounds that the duo had merely brought before them a case which was “based on issues that had been decided before by the courts”.
The court also upheld Justice Sakoane’s decision that only the trial Judge Tshosa had the jurisdiction to determine whether or not they could not be joined to the treason and murder trial without first being remanded in the magistrates’ court.
They have now filed an application before Justice Tshosa just as they had been ordered by Justice Sakoane back in February.
Their latest application has caused the postponement of the treason and murder trial. The trial was supposed to start on 11 June 2021 and Lieutenant General (Lt-Gen) Kamoli and his three co-accused soldiers were in court on that day.
The three co-accused soldiers are Captain Litekanyo Nyakane and Lance Corporals Motloheloa Ntsane and Leutsoa Motsieloa.
The treason charges are in connection with the 30 August 2014 attempted coup against the first government of former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
The murder case is in connection with the killing of Police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko which occurred during the same attempted coup against Mr Thabane’s government on 30 August 2014.