The controversy over Seleka Springs multi-million pula benefits from Botswana Defence Force (BDF) tenders between 1980 and 1998 took a new twist on Thursday with revelations that High Commissioner to India Lesego Motsumi faces punishment for her utterances. Seleka Springs is a company owned by President Ian Khama's twin brothers, Tshekedi and Anthony. Francistown East Member of Parliament Wynter Mmolotsi on Thursday accused the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government of launching a witch hunt on Motsumi, the second time coming after she failed to shield its hideous dealings.
Responding to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi's statement issued to parliament on Thursday absolving Motsumi from claims that she had made certain utterances vindicating government in a local radio station, Mmolotsi posited that Moitoi’s statement had all the hallmarks of a witch hunt stamped all over it. He accused the Minister of victimising the High Commissioner because she has not conformed to their expectations of not telling the truth. “Perhaps you want to fire her like you had done to her before when she failed to live up to your expectations,” said Mmolotsi.
Sharing the same sentiments, Gabane/Mmankgodi legislator Pius Mokgware accused Moitoi’s office of violating Motsumi’s rights as a civil servant. According to Mokgware, if by making the alleged unwelcome utterances in the local radio station, Motsumi had contravened her contractual obligations with government then there were other ways of addressing the matter rather than bringing the issue to parliament. According to Mokgware the statement was a cheap political score by government made with the intention of demeaning Motsumi as a high ranking government official.
The issue emanates from an interview that Motsumi allegedly had with a local radio in which she said she stood by her word even after the current Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi asked parliament to expunge certain utterances she made in the house when she was the Acting Minister of Defence, Justice and Security as they were apparently untrue. While still in cabinet Motsumi told parliament that Seleka Springs, a company owned by president Ian Khama’s brothers, the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama and his twin Anthony did indeed win BDF tenders between 1980 and 1998. Shortly thereafter, Motsumi was relieved of her ministerial and parliamentary duties and posted abroad on a diplomatic mission.
Presenting her statement to parliament Moitoi told parliament that her ministry had considered it out of turn that a serving public officer would be found to be making statements that would violate stated government procedure if she felt she needed to advise a minister. “We have taken the matter up with Motsumi and in her response she has categorically denied ever speaking to any radio station in Botswana at the specified time over the issue that the honourable Kgathi was confronted with,” she said.
Moitoi then requested that Mmolotsi furnish the house with evidence of Motsumi speaking to a radio station and in the absence of that, retract his statement labeled at Motsumi and apologise to the house. “This leaves us with only two scenarios to put the records of parliament right. Either Honourable Mmolotsi is right or he was wrong in making statement and accrediting it to Ms Motsumi who now denies it. But only one person can correct this and put the record straight,” said Moitoi.
Mmolotsi however provided parliament with a written news piece of the alleged interview from the said local radio station’s website, which Moitoi subsequently declined to accept as a true representation of Motsumi’s interview as it was in the third person. The Francistown South legislator however declined to retract his statement, saying if Moitoi was not satisfied with the evidence he has provided then it was up to her to take it up with the said radio station and seek confirmation.