A panel of three judges on Wednesday adjourned to February the case in which former Mosolotshane-Moralane Ward Councillor, Mogalakwe Mogalakwe has taken the IEC to court. This is to allow Mogalakwe’s attorneys to furnish the defence with more details. The panel composed of Justices Gaopalelwe Ketlogetswe, Itumeleng Segopolo and Omphemetse Motumise adjourned the matter to February 10-15h at 830 am after only two witnesses out of the scheduled 11 including Mogalakwe himself had given evidence, while the third was still on the stand
Mogalakwe petitioned the IEC and the BDP, wanting the outcome of the October 23, 2019 poll for the Mosolotshane/Moralane Ward elections in the Shoshong constituency declared null and void because the elections were not free and fair. Originally, the judges had set this week from Monday to Wednesday as trial dates but that had to change as both the petitioner’s attorney Faustino Ng’anda and Patrick Kgoadi of Kgoadi, Legwaila, and Ng’andu Partners law chambers, and IEC attorneys Advocate Andrew Redding SC appearing with Advocate Rammidi as well as Attorney Busang Manewe of Bogopa, Manewe, Tobedza and Company spent all Monday addressing the five points of law raised by the court.
This led to the trial starting on Tuesday after the court released its interlocutory ruling in favour of the applicants. The court had asked all the parties to advise as to whether the petition was compliant with sections 117, 118 and 119 of the Electoral Act.
Ng’andu argued that his client has given security hence the petition is compliant with Electoral Act provisions. Further he said Mogalakwe’s surety was sufficient as it was never challenged by any of the respondents. BDP lawyer Manewe argued that the petition was not compliant with the stated provisions of the Act and was as such a nullity. He argued that the point in limine raised by the court were in relation to mandatory provisions of Section 117 of the Act dealing with security, arguing that in accordance with Sections 117, 118 and 119, the petitioner must bind himself and have at least four sureties and since Mogalakwe has failed to comply, his petition must be dismissed with costs.
Advocate Redding argued that they never objected to Mogalakwe’s petition, but in their response to the points in limine raised by the court, said the law states that when filing a petition, in relation to issues of security, the petitioner, who is the principal debtor, must be supported by sureties. When reading the majority ruling Justice Motumise said that the court has found that the petition of Mogalakwe has complied with the regulations or the provisions of the Electoral Act hence the trial would proceed. He said he however, holds a different view that the petition does not comply, but two of his brothers Justices Gaopalelwe and Segopolo differed. On Wednesday afternoon, the judges adjourned the trial after ordering Mogalakwe’s attorney to give more statements to both the IEC and BDP attorneys.
The attorney for both parties asked the court to order Mogalakwe’s attorney to furnish them with more details because the witnesses for Mogalakwe are saying more than what is in the statements in their possession. They argued that they need more information in order to prepare their defence sufficiently. The court ordered Mogalakwe's attorney to furnish them with more details. Mogalakwe's Attorneys promised to furnish both IEC and BDP attorneys with detailed statements on Monday The trial started on Wednesday with Mogalakwe giving his evidence in chief led by his attorney of record.
Mogalakwe singled out the names of people from IEC, police and BDP in his evidence-in-chief as the chief culprits in the electoral scam. He accused IEC officers of refusing to extend voting hours when many potential voters were around the polling station fence at closing time.He said IEC officers were biased and operated outside their mandate. He cited one Bajeleng Kaudimba – a BDP political activist whom he accused of being the lead actor in making the Moralane ward election not free and fair. He allegedly interfered with the electoral process from opening time at 6:30 am to closing at 7pm by always being in the voting line and telling voters to cast their votes for BDP candidates.