Justice Singh Walia of the Court of Appeal has directed that the power struggle between Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) National Executive Committee (NEC) be heard today (Friday).
Justice Walia directed through a letter dated August 23rd 2018 that the parties file their papers starting Monday this week until Thursday. The legal battle has pitted BOPEU as 1st Applicant followed by Ogaufi Masame, Zibani Philemon, Mosalagae Tlhako and Motswaledi Monaiwa against union President Masego Mogwera as 1st Respondent followed by Tlhabologo Galekhutle (Treasurer), Martin Gabobake (1st Deputy President), Topias Marenga (General Secretary) and Ketlhapelang Karabo (Deputy General Secretary).
Philemon and team are appealing a decision by Lobatse High Court Judge Godfrey Nthomiwa dismissing their urgent application to remove Mogwera and crew from office and uphold their suspension. Philemon and team have since filed their notice of motion to appeal with the court. In the notice of motion, the applicants want the decision of the court a quo dated the 17th August 2018, dismissing the application of the Appellants with costs be set aside.
They want it to be replaced with a rule nisi calling upon all the Respondents to show cause why an order should not be made declaring the decision of the NEC made at the meeting of the 28th July 2018, suspending Mogwera and team pending investigation and possible disciplinary action for unauthorised secondment remuneration.
Another requested order is for court to direct Mogwera and team to vacate BOPEU premises and an order directing and authorising a deputy sheriff of the court with the assistance of the police to escort them out of BOPEU premises in the event they fail to comply.
In the grounds of appeal papers seen by this publication they argue that the Judge erred by holding that the Appellant has failed to establish the requisites of urgency whereas the same were established.
“The matter is urgent because there is a fierce struggle over who is legitimate to govern the Union, due to the fact that there is being suspension and counter suspension by members of the NEC of BOPEU,” they argue.
Philemon, who is a member of the NEC of BOPEU by virtue of his position as the Gaborone Region 3 Regional Chairperson, was appointed as the acting president, Ogaufi Masame as the acting 1st Deputy President, Eronah Kolobetso as the acting 2nd Deputy President, Kebonyemodisa Watota as the acting general secretary and Mosalagae Tlhako as the acting Treasurer General and Emmanuel Tlale as the acting deputy secretary general.