Makopong village chieftancy dispute postponed to Jan. 31

BG reporter
Monday, 14 January 2019
Makopong village chieftancy dispute postponed to Jan. 31

Judgment in the case in which Vincent Phologo of Makopong village is fighting for survival in his bid to remain Kgosi has been postp t, which stripped him off bogosi, which he argues in court papers that it rightly belongs to him. Phologo argues that he is entitled to rescission of the judgment so that the real issues in dispute between the parties can be “fully ventilated”.

Phologo was in April last year relieved of his duties as Sub-chief for Makopong village following a court order by Justice Michael Leburu that his appointment to the position back in 2016 was unprocedural and should be set aside. The judgment followed a successful bid by some members of the Makopong community who challenged in court his appointment without elections being held.Phologo was subsequently released from his job by the Minister of Local Government, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi who also addressed a kgotla meeting in the village and told residents that she was still looking into the matter.

Phologo on the other hand launched an urgent application before Justice Leburu, praying for stay of execution of the order that, his appointment as Sub-chief be set aside and that the respondents bear the costs of the application on ordinary scale.
In his affidavit Phologo argued that he has filed the urgent application for stay of execution shortly after filling another application for rescission.

“The protection I seek from this court is that by reason that I have filed an application for rescission of the judgment in question, this court should grant an order staying the execution of the judgment in respect of which rescission proceedings are pending,” read part of the affidavit.

The respondents in the case; Dixon Radijeng and others (representing members of the Makopong community) opposed the urgent application saying the application was not urgent and that there was nothing to stay because the court order has already been carried into effect by the minister.

Delivering his judgment at the time, Justice Leburu noted that the applicant did not approach the court with the necessary promptness. “He waited for over 60 days before approaching the court to vindicate and assert his rights,” he argued, adding that the application for stay of execution was even filed six days after the minister executed the judgement of the court.

The judge then dismissed the application for stay of execution. The case for rescission of the judgement was then transferred to Justice Dube following Justice Leburu’s transfer to Gaborone. Speaking to Botswana Guardian on behalf of the community, Helper Chabanga, who is listed as third respondent in the matter confirmed that the judgment has been postponed to the 31st of January.

Chabanga expressed worry at the delay saying it is almost a year now that the Makopong community has been without a Kgosi.“As a community we are a bit concerned. We don’t have a problem with the judicial system as we trust it will look at the matter with an independent eye, our major concern is the delay,” he said.

Chabanga wondered why the concerned minister did not go back to the community to address them and explain why a Kgosi could not be appointed following Justice Leburu’s judgment. “We expected the minister to come back to us, she only addressed us in April last year and she said she will appeal the matter, but since government has not appealed Leburu’s judgment we expected her to start the process of appointing a new Kgosi,” he said.

He is of the view that government is biased towards Phologo at the expense of the whole community. Chabanga argues that some high-ranking officials took interest in the Makopong bogosi because Phologo is related to a high-ranking Botswana Democratic Party member in the village. “As the community we will continue fighting for our rights,” he said.

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