The two advocates demands over P500,000
Yes, we still have legal bills to settle – Mohwasa
‘We hope BMD will not neglect to pay us’ -Mohwasa
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) are facing their unending financial challenges emanating from the court cases they had before and after the 2019 General Elections.
While the party recently managed to settle their legal fees with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) they are now facing old debts to the two South African advocates who represented them during their case with Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) in August 2019.
Information gathered by this publication is that the two South African advocates Paul Kennedy and Tembeka Ngcukaitobi are demanding over P500, 000 from the UDC as legal fees.
Sources have revealed that UDC will not have a choice but to settle the bill as BMD is financially incapacitated and won’t be able to pay the legal costs. UDC Spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa said their attorneys of record in the matter have not shared the taxed bill with them as such they cannot speculate how much BMD owes them.
“Yes. We still have legal bills to settle. It has not been easy for us as we were at the summit of a financially draining election cycle. As per the order of court, we hope the BMD could pay so that we could settle. Though we are directly responsible for the bill, they are supposed to pay our costs,” he said.
The UDC spokesperson said they have never been at war with the BMD as their expulsion was out of principle and not malice. “We also acknowledge their right to seek legal redress or review of our actions. We therefore, though expecting them to settle the costs, would not pursue them in a way that is vindictive and seeks to embarrass them. It is common knowledge that all opposition parties are struggling financially. We however hope that this magnanimous approach will not make them neglect to pay us,” he said.
Contacted for comment, BMD Treasurer Percy Bakwena said they are yet to receive the legal bill from UDC and will take it from there. Bakwena refused to comment on allegations that the BMD is financially broke choosing to say that they awaiting for the bill from UDC. The legal costs arose from the legal challenge BMD launched against UDC just before the elections in which they challenged their expulsion.
In August 2019 BMD challenged the October 2018 decision by the UDC National Executive Committee to expel them from the coalition. BMD lost the case with costs when Justice Bashi Moesi said they failed to produce any legal and credible case to convince the court why the UDC should not expel it. He explained that the UDC as a political party had made its case and that as the court it should not interfere in the party’s decision.
Their appeal against the high court judgment was also thrown out by Court of Appeal in which they wanted their case to be heard on urgent basis. When dismissing the appeal, Judge President of Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby said that their appeal would likely cause voter confusion and uncertainty in elections.