Family concerned, pleads with her to leave -claim
Rivals use court case to tarnish her reputation
BDP Central Committee, MPs divided over her fate
MPs are within reason to call for Mokgethi’s suspension – Analyst
A by-election looms large for Gaborone Bonnington North as incumbent embattled MP, Annah Mokgethi could soon bow to pressure from family to quit politics before her term elapses.
Concerned family members are said to have pleaded with Mogethi to take a break from politics to save her reputation, The Patriot on Sunday has learned. Things are falling apart for Mokgethi -the cabinet minister for Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, who faces a possible double blow as per court of appeal verdict and pressure from inside her party, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). She faces possible imprisonment after the Court of Appeal (CoA) Judge, Justice Godfrey Nthomiwa ruled that the MP has stolen from a dead man. Fellow democrats want her suspended.
According to reliable sources close to the developments, Mokgethi’s family asked her to take a break from politics. The family is said to be worried that the matter before the courts of law is now being used by her detractors for political sabotage given growing calls by her colleagues that she be dropped from cabinet.
“A closed family meeting has insisted that Mokgethi steps down from politics so that she can focus on the issue before court or she immediately quit the politics after the court matter is settled. Some political kingpins in the BDP, who are after her post, are riding on the court issue to discredit her in their favor. She is under stress and family is worried that political pressure aggravates the situation,” said a source.
Also, indications are that the Gaborone Bonnigton North legislator was convinced by her family that she could do better in her businesses than in the politics as it is turning out ugly for her. Mokgethi’s family had anticipated that she will take a break from politics to mourn the passing of her daughter, Sarona Motlhagodi alias Sasa Klaas, who died in a helicopter crash in March this year.
Efforts to get a comment from Mokgethi hit a brick wall on Friday as she did not answer calls into her cellphone nor respond to messages sent to her via WatsApp though it showed that she read them as they blue ticked.
University of Botswana (UB) political analyst, Mokaloba Mokaloba said BDP MPs are within reason to call for her suspension as the same happened to Nata-gweta MP Polson Majaga when he was charged with defilement before a Magistrate court.
Mokaloba said it is time for Botswana to have a governing code of conduct for politicians in the public office. “It is high time that our Parliament adopts the code of conduct because as leaders we expect them to protect their dignity and clear their names. If that does not happen, the code of conduct should then be used against the political leaders with issues similar to Mokgethi,” he said.
In other political jurisdictions, the Code of Conduct for politicians in the public office sets out the standards of behaviour expected of Members of Parliament as they carry out their duties. In the United Kingdom (UK) for example, code of conduct for parliamentarians contains the rules concerning the additional income, gifts and their personal interests that must be declared by MPs and published in Register of Members’ Interests, and there is ministerial code for government ministers too.
Contacted for comment late Friday, BDP Chairman of Communications Kagelelo Kentse briefly said the issue of suspension calls of Mokgethi and Pono Moatlhodi remains an internal issue for now. A new BDP catch from the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Moatlhodi who is the MP for Tonota is also accused of assaulting a 12 year for stealing mangoes from his yard in Tonota village.
According to Kentse, if any decision is made by the party regarding the two MPs, it will be announced a later stage. The Patriot on Sunday also understands that the BDP central committee has advised Mokgethi to steps aside from cabinet so that she can at least clear her name as an MP not holding a ministerial post. But on the contrary, BDP backbenchers are piling pressure on President Mokgweetsi Masisi to fire Mokgethi from her ministerial ost and suspend her from the party just like they did with Majaga last year. Majaga was suspended for 60 days to accord him time to clear his name in the wake of the charges levelled against him but court in March this year cleared him of the charges. Nata Principal Magistrate, Keabetswe Majuta, discharged and acquitted MP Majaga who was accused of unlawfully having carnal knowledge of an underage girl at Malelejwe Settlement.
“There is disagreement between the Parliamentary caucus and the party leadership over whether to suspend Mokgethi or not. The backbenchers are demanding that she be suspended because Majaga was also sacrificed when he had a matter before court last year. But the central committee is convincing her to step down from cabinet but MPs emphasize she must be suspended from the party,” a source stated.
A backbencher who preferred not to be named said Mokgethi is under pressure as she missed a number of BDP caucus meetings since her matter was presented before the party for consideration.
Court of Appeal (CoA) president Justice Ian Kirby recently dismissed Mokgethi’s application to overturn a high court ruling that ordered her to give proper accounting of the late Abdul Joseph’s estate. Kirby confirmed the ruling made by Gaborone High Court Judge Godfrey Nthomiwa who recommended that Mokgethi be imprisoned after she failed to account for the dead man’s wealth.
Beneficiaries of Joseph’s estate are demanding that Mokgethi, who was an attorney ofor their late father, grant them their wealth winning a lawsuit where court found that she has been violating administration for over six years. “The order of Nthomiwa J was properly made in terms of Section 109 (1) of the Act and it is to be obeyed or executed notwithstanding the outcome of any parallel or pending proceedings,” said Kirby.
Justice Nthomiwa also ordered Mokgethi to provide details of all transactions in respect of any securities or shares forming part of the estate from the date of the issuing of the letters of the accounting together with copies all supporting by vouchers, thus putting Mokgethi under pressure.