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BOMU descends into full-scale war

Keletso Thobega

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KICKED OUT: BOMU President Pagson Ntsie

A storm is brewing at Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) following a ruling that Pagson Ntsie is not a legitimate chairperson for the music body. The Registrar of Societies passed the ruling this week.

Arbitration award documents between Phemelo Lesokwane and others as applicants and BOMU as the respondents indicate that the 2017 AGM was not properly constituted as per Article 8.4.1: that the said AGM did not form a quorum and that the election of the current Executive Committee is declared invalid and therefore set aside.The council ruled that an interim committee be set up, chaired by the Patron (Taolo Moshaga) and assisted by three members from the respondents’ side and three members from the applicants’ side, to facilitate preparation for the next elections; and that the interim committee should work on the amendment of the constitution in consultation with BOMU membership for submission at the next AGM.

The award also stipulates that the interim committee is charged with the responsibility of arranging for a properly constituted AGM to be held by the second week of July or second week of August 2019, to elect the new Executive Committee which shall take over from the interim committee. It further states that the interim committee shall, subsequent to the elections, prepare a detailed report and submit it to the Council before end of September 2019, adding that going forward, BOMU should comply with Societies Act and follow its constitution.

Lastly, the council assumed the advisory and arbitration role in order to ensure that both parties are heard. The respondents were given 30 days in which to appeal to the High Court. The arbitration council included chairperson Festina Bakwena as well as Joseph Orebotse, Ogomoditse Matsila, Mosweu Simane, Joseph Dikgomo, Master Matlhaope, Mavis Itseng, Kebonye Moepeng and Felistus Motimedi.

Lesokwane came to The Midweek Sun offices this week and claimed that some executive members of BOMU did not want him because he always questioned the manner in which affairs were conducted. “There were instances where the Constitution was not abided by and there were no meetings from district chapters, among other issues.” Lesokwane further claimed that Ntsie took money from individuals and companies under the BOMU name. “He has brought BOMU into disrepute,” he said. He produced a letter addressed to Ntsie in February 2016, from BOMU, which among others says that Ntsie should recuse himself. Part of the letter reads:

“In view of the significant contributions by yourself towards the association’s activities, we have received unclassified excuses from yourself; the bulk of it came immediately after the just ended 7th annual BOMU awards.” The letter further states: “Already, one lawsuit is pending relating to refund from one supplier and monthly rental cheque awaiting your signature, with more likely to follow as we are busy looking for potential sponsors.”

Lesokwane said that in 2013 he was part of the executive committee but in a previous conversation, Ntsie had told this reporter that Lesokwane was suspended from BOMU for five years, which meant his suspension is set to lapse in 2021. Lesokwane conceded that while he had once been suspended, the BOMU constitution indicated that a member could be suspended for not more than 18 months.

He said in 2015, the then chairperson Phempheretlhe Pheto had written him a letter informing him that his suspension had been lifted. Lesokwane said he was loathed because he often questioned financial management in the organisation. “There was once an incident where Ntsie had travelled to Francistown for presidential awards competitions when he had P20, 000 per diem.” He said he was surprised when workers who had helped were paid with cheques. “I raised this matter with then chairperson Alfredo Mos but instead of calling a meeting I was kicked out. I was surprised to learn that I had been suspended.” Lesokwane said he queried the way BOMU was managed with Registrar of Societies and was advised to write to the arbitration council, which he did.

The case was first heard last December and then early this year, while judgment was handed down yesterday. He said that when legally perusing information on BOMU, he had established that the organisation did not file returns among other shocking revelations. Lesokwane said that all he wanted was for BOMU to be legitimate and that all affairs should be done by the book. “Pagson has a day job at GTC as a lecturer or something like that. He should focus on that and leave BOMU for people who have experience in the music industry,” he said. He added: “I am happy that I have liberated BOMU and the music industry from capture. Most artists did not take BOMU seriously because of the type of management in place.” While he had previously spoken to this reporter about sexual harassment claims levelled against Lesokwane, when contacted for comment regarding the BOMU scandal two hours later, Ntsie suddenly did not pick calls and blue-ticked Whatsapp messages.

He later sent the number of Keotshepile Motseoanageng, also known as Berry Heart, and wrote via Whatsapp: “She is now my publicist on such matters.” Motseoanageng said she would convene a meeting today (Wednesday morning) to share certain documents. When asked what the documents contained she responded: “You will see.” She would not be drawn into commenting further saying: “I will call a meeting tomorrow. I hope you don’t have a cut off time,” she said. Continued efforts to get Ntsie to comment failed as he did not answer calls nor respond to SMSes.

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Cops are not monsters – Matlapeng

Yvonne Mooka

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Crime becomes easier to fight when members of the society and the police work together, says Sejelo Police Station Commander Superintendent Mogomotsi Matlapeng.

“Police of today go to the people. We want them to see that we are not fighting them but fighting crime, hence we want to join hands with them,” said the police boss, who joined the police station this year in May from Broadhurst Police station in Gaborone.

He said that gone are the days when police officers were feared by members of the community. Supt. Matlapeng is likeable among members of his staff and the community of Kanye. He has won the hearts of many villagers in a short period of time because of his efforts to take the police station to the people.

Under him, Sejelo Police was awarded Station Community Policing award for this year by the Botswana Police Service. “We go to the people and address their issues. As a philosopher and a perfectionist myself, I believe that community policing is the way to go. “We go to schools and speak to teachers on certain issues relevant to the students. Our clusters also visit local wards to teach parents about pressing matters pertaining to crime,” he said.

Other than stock theft, the police station has recorded relatively low crime statistics. The station covers Kanye Kgosing ward, Moshana, Gasita and Selokolela.

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Murder convict, Masilo not going down without a “fight”

Keletso Thobega

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Thabo Masilo did not cringe when Judge Abednigo Tafa found him guilty of murder this past Thursday. Masilo stood erect staring ahead as if in a trance.

There was not a mutter in the courtroom when Justice Tafa stated that Masilo had intentionally murdered former St. Joseph’s College learner Tshepang Motlhabane on 16 November 2012 in Phase 4 Gaborone. In his ruling, Tafa argued that Masilo could not claim that he was acting in self defence when he had stabbed Tshepang three times. Masilo had through his lawyer Kgosi Ngakayagae insisted that Tshepang was his lover and he had stabbed her following an altercation because she had grabbed him by the balls when he had demanded his phone and P100 he had borrowed her.

Post mortem results show that Motlhabane had three wounds and died from a vein rupture. “If it was indeed self-defence, he would have not stabbed the deceased three times in different places. It is without a doubt that the accused had come to the house with the intention to commit an offence but faced with resistence from his victim, he decided to stab her,” said the judge.
He however dismissed the robbery charge.

It remains a mystery how Masilo gained entry into the property, which had a high wall and alarm system. Curious members of the public, relatives and friends of Tshepang as well as relatives of Masilo flocked Court Room 5 of Lobatse High Court for the ruling. The courtroom was so packed that some people sat at the back on the floor.

Masilo, who has lost a lot of weight, seemed to suffer a ‘leaky bladder’ as he went to the bathroom several times, escorted by prison officers. At one point during the long ruling, Masilo stopped proceedings, and through his lawyer Ngakayagae, complained that there were certain people in the courtroom taking pictures of him.

These people were seen by him only. The ruling that was read over nearly two hours painted a sad ending for the little girl who sustained wounds above the eye, on the chest and died a day after the attack. Tshepang is said to have at one point said to a nurse and relative: A lo boleletse mama gore ke a swa (Did you tell my mother that I am dying). Information provided by medical personnel indicates that she had lost a lot of blood.

Tafa read statements by 13 witnesses including Security System officers, police officers, a forensic expert, nurse, doctor, a relative and a photojournalist. All corroborated that the girl had been attacked and had locked herself in her bedroom from her assailant, who was much later found in hiding in the house. Masilo had claimed that he and the deceased were dating and he had loaned her P100 and his Nokia phone. However, when he visited her and asked that she return the money, a fight ensued and she held him by the testicles.

This, he claimed, led to him taking a kitchen knife and stabbing her in self-defence because she did not want to let go of him. Tafa said that this version of events was questionable and noted that only the accused and deceased were in the house at the said time and it would be difficult to determine exactly what had happened. He however said that there was no doubt that Masilo had killed Motlhabane.

He also noted that Masilo’s actions showed guilt as he had hidden in the ceiling of the house when he heard Security Systems personnel breaking into the house, and had also claimed to have drunk poison. He said if it was not his intention to kill Tshepang; he would have cooperated with the security officers and asked them to help Tshepang promptly.

Following the ruling, Masilo’s lawyer Ngakayagae asked for a date to be set for submissions on extenuation, saying that they would present three witnesses. The date was set to 7 February 2019 at the Gaborone High Court.

Masilo, who is already serving 15 years for robbery and rape, appears to come from a decent home. Many of his relatives were in court to offer moral support. His mother, who appeared agitated, has been by his side from day one. Considering that the family is paying one of the best lawyers in the country, it is safe to say that money is not a problem.

Although Masilo has already been found guilty, the fight appears to be for a more lenient sentence as he faces the hangman’s noose. Outside court, different camps spoke in hushed tones discussing the ruling. The mother of the late Tshepng looked sombre and frail. It is clear that the pain has not left her.

Shying away from flashing cameras and curious glances, she briefly said she was pleased Masilo had been found guilty but refused to comment further. An unidentified family representative chipped in that they were happy with the ruling. Quizzed on how they felt about Masilo she said: “We have forgiven him because we are Christians. But we are glad that justice will be served.”

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