Plot thickens as CJ backs Justice Kebonang in ‘Butterfly’ case

  • Butterfly’s lawyer says he is not surprised by CJ’s revelation that case was a fabrication
  • Some powerful state agents reportedly irked by CJ’s revelation


The Chief Justice (CJ) Terence Rannowane’s statement that the high profile case of secret agent Wilhelmina Maswabi, codenamed “Butterfly,” was a fabrication by the state has validated Justice Dr Zein Kebonang’s ruling on the matter and reportedly irked some powerful state agents.

While the Chief Justice described the case as one of a few that have caused embarrassment to President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, Justice Kebonang’s earlier call on the President to crack the whip on the perpetrators within law enforcement agencies has to-date not resulted in any visible concrete action.

Said the Chief Justice in his letter to the President: “We are all aware of the Wilhelmina Maswabi case where the accused was brought to court on fabricated evidence. That particular case caused untold reputational damage to our criminal justice system, not just here at home but abroad.

“As head of the judiciary, I get concerned when our institutions’ professional image takes a hit. In fact, I am on record in one of my legal year speeches expressing regret about the tendency of charging people first and investigating the case thereafter.”

Speaking to this publication, Butterfly’s lawyer Unoda Mack said he was not really shocked at the CJ’s revelations. “It’s nothing new or shocking,” Mack said. “Everybody knows this painful truth.”

Sources say some powerful state agents are not happy with the contents of the Chief Justice Rannowane’s letter to the President Masisi and have joined a growing chorus for his head to roll in view of judicial allegations levelled against him.

Meanwhile, the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) has criticised the Chief Justice for what they say is speaking to the President through letters instead of judgements, noting that he was a part of a panel of five judges that heard the state’s appeal against “Butterfly” but never raised the issue of fabrication of evidence in the ruling but finds it fit to do so through a letter to the President.