High Court affirms BOPEU’s new leadership

Nicholas Mokwena-BG reporter 
Thursday, 09 April 2020
High Court affirms BOPEU’s new leadership


Disgraced Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) President Masego Mogwera' s rival faction has been confirmed as new office bearers of the union. The faction led by Olefile Monakwe has been tussling with Mogwera's faction over the control of the union since 2018, a conflict punctuated by litigations. Monakwe has now been confirmed by Besina Buraga, the Registrar of Trade Unions and Employers Organisations, as President of the union.


According to a letter dated April 2, 2020, Buraga confirmed change of office bearers of BOPEU and registered the new leadership in accordance with Trade Unions and Employers Organisations Act (TUEOA). The new leaders of the union are Monakwe as President, Donald Mokgweetsi 1st Vice-President, General Secretary Kaboyaone Sedimo, Ketlhapileng Karabo is Vice Secretary while Panama Dipatane is Treasurer General. 


In a recent judgment High Court Judge Christopher Gabanagae dismissed an urgent application launched by Mogwera seeking to interdict her dismissal from the union. She filed the application on the 5 December 2019 on urgency basis. Mogwera wanted that Monakwe and or BOPEU be barred or interdicted from effectuating or implementing any or all steps aimed at implementing the decisions taken at the Special General Congress of BOPEU which took place on December 1st 2019. 


She also pleaded with the court that the decision taken at the purported Special General Congress which took place from November 30th to December 1st 2019 to dismiss her from membership of BOPEU be set aside and declared null and void and of no force.  She further sought that Registrar of Trade Unions be restrained from changing the records of the union (BOPEU) based on the decision taken at the Special General Congress. The defendants in the case argued that the relief sought by Mogwera is fatally defective.


In his judgement, Justice Gabanagae said the Applicant failed to furnish reasons why it took about five days to launch the application. He indicated that Mogwera did not explain why she could not bring the application earlier. "It is not for the court to guess the reasons. Reasons have to be fully set out in her founding affidavit. In fairness there is nothing to interdict. She is well within rights to challenge the decision of the Special General Congress in a normal course," stated Justice Gabanagae. Mogwera on May 9th 2019 lodged an application seeking the decision to suspend her as president be declared unlawful and set aside and that the meeting of April 27th 2019 at Regent Hotel chaired by Monakwe be declared null and void. The union would later at the end of the year terminate her membership during the Special General Congress in Palapye.


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