Gaborone High Court has dismissed an urgent application by Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) last night (Monday) after the latter were denied an opportunity to hold peaceful demonstrations over prevailing BCL mine accidents. The application requested the court to order the Commissioner of police to amend a permit granting the union to petition Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi over the BCL mine crisis.
The BMWU was expected to march from Notwane grounds to the Office of the President (OP) in Gaborone to protest against prevailing accidents that recently claimed the lives of BCL mineworkers at Selibe Phikwe. Nevertheless the BMWU is expected to deliver the petition to Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi at Notwane grounds this afternoon. However, both the OP together with the police earlier turned down the planned peaceful demonstration, which was supposed to take place today at the open space next to the OP this afternoon (Tuesday).
The initial petition was served as an appeal to the Vice President after the board of Directors of the BCL mine and the Minister of the Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Kitso Mokaila were allegedly unable to attend to the mine accident crisis. According to the BMWU press statement, the BMWU on the 22 June 2016 requested to deliver a petition to the Masisi which was accepted and confirmed in writing by the high office on 28 June 2016 stating. At the same time, an application to hold a demonstration was lodged with B.L Bareki, Officer Commanding District No. 3 of the Botswana Police Service on 22 June 2016. The application was seeking a permit to take part in a peaceful demonstration from Notwane grounds to the OP.
According to the Union, the OP Senior Private Secretary one Pilane, the high office declined a request for the demonstration. Moreover, the BMWU said OP decided that the petition should not be received in Gaborone but rather at Selebi Phikwe. However, the BMWU argued that they were informed very late about the decision taken by the OP to turn down the demonstration. Nevertheless, the BWMU argued that they could not change the venue from Gaborone to Phikwe as they had already agreed earlier with the Vice president to petition in Gaborone.