RAPE TAPES: UDC, BPP & DA CALL FOR PILANE’S PROSECUTION

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  • “He deserves to be arrested and removed from his position”
  • DA suggests the matter go to court
  • I do not know anything about the payment- Mayor Thutlwe

LAWRENCE SERETSE, LETLHOGILE MPUANG & DANNY SERETSE

The chairman of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP) President Motlatsi Molapisi is calliing for the prosecution of Sidney Pilane for allegedly subverting the course of justice in a case in which Sesame Nakedi filed a complaint of rape against Gaborone City Mayor Kagiso Thutlwe.

Last week, this publication’s investigations revealed that Pilane could face possible charges of conspiracy to defeat justice and interference with witnesses following an audio recording detailing how he coerced a rape victim to accept bribe money to withdraw charges against Thutlwe. Pilane, a prominent politician and advocate can be heard in the audio recording telling, (listen to the audio on the Botswana Gazette Facebook page) Nakedi that he had P20 000 in his possession for her to accept and also to tell the police that they have reconciled the issue. According to the laws of Botswana rape allegations cannot be “reconciled”.

Molapisi told Botswana Gazette this week that he is aware of the matter, and has called for legal action against the perpetrators.

“I have heard of this issue in the local media, but i dont know too much about it. But if this is true, people like him who force others to drop such cases should be arrested and prosecuted, regardless of who they are,” said Molapisi on Monday afternoon.

“This is now turning into somewhat of a trend that people who do such tend to go on and pursue their victims with money to drop charges but we need ways to stop it. Even if its someone in a high office, the law must take its course and they should also be removed from these positions. We need people who are clean to lead us, not hypocrites.”

“Like I say, if this is true, certainly they were out of order and it is wrong, all three of them were wrong, the perpetrators and the victim, she was also not supposed to accept the money to drop the charges in the first place. They all qualify to be charged.

We as members of the UDC will do everything to protect our people and the image of the party, no matter how influential or big you are, action must be taken, and it is for this reason we say they need to be brought before the courts, charged and removed from their positions,” added the veteran political.

South Africa’s opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA), who are also believed to be one of the BMD’s main funders, have also taken a position that complaints against Pilane must go court ‘if it is true’. DA’s Stevens Mokgalapa Minister of International Relations and Co-operation added that they will engage with Pilane regarding the issue.

“Honestly, we have not been really following too much of what is going on in Botswana politics, but as the DA we have a very strict policy that deals with sexual harassment and women violence internally. It is also our expectation that the BMD must have such a policy which guards against such issues,” said Mokgalapa in an interview yesterday (Monday).

“There isn’t much we can do in this matter, but we suggest that the issue is taken before the courts and let the Botswana legal courts deal best with it. We believe that the law must take its course, but it would be a pity if the victim decides against taking it to court, because we will never know the actual truth. We are a party that believes very much in the rule of law, and we are not going to protect people who violate other people’s rights.

We will engage Rre Pilane on the matter and hear his side of the story, but if the matter does not reach the courts then we will never know the truth,” he concluded.

Gaborone mayor Kagiso Thutlwe says he knows nothing about the leaked audio between BMD president Advocate Sidney Pilane and his alleged rape victim.

 “The police have dropped the case, there was no evidence that I raped her, modimo otla ntshekela,” cried the mayor in an interview with this publication. Although the mayor dismisses the fact that he had any knowledge of the meeting of the two, it casts doubt as to why Pilane would want to pay off the victim without the knowledge of the then accused Gaborone Mayor Thutlwe.

Investigations reveal that Pilane used the Leader of the Opposition, Duma Boko’s name in the recording and expressed positons that he claimed to have been adopted by Boko, without having ever discussed the matter with Boko himself. In an interview with this publication, Boko revealed that he was not consulted on the matter as claimed by Pilane. 

It may have been coincidental that Pilane can be heard stating that he is acting on behalf of the Gaborone Mayor but the more likely scenario appears that Pilane was acting out of self preservation to stop negative attention to the party and himself. 

Speaking to The Botswana Gazette, Ms Tebogo Gareitsane of BONELA , said that there is little that can be done on their part as they cannot fight on behalf of the alleged victim as she has not approached them. 

The revelations in the audio recording have been revealed to be a serious frustration for BONELA as they, as an organisation, would like to see an end to gender based violence. Gareitsane  was emphatic that no amount of money is equal to justice being served without any intervention from anyone, however she urges women to fight for their rights because such cases are indicative to the social, economic and cultural barriers that women face in cases related to gender based violence

The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) and Botswana Council for Women (BCW) are among of the various organisations that have come forward to condemn Pilane for his role in the case and have called for government to step up in protecting women’s rights in the country. BONELA has issued a press release stating that Patriarchy remains one of the main drivers of gender based violence. Patriarchy is a system in which men hold primary power and dominate in roles of political leadership , moral authority , social privilege and control of property .The patriarchy displayed in this audio tape demonstrates why it is imperative for the community to join the chorus of attaining human rights  for those most vulnerable  particularly in context to HIV and AIDS.