Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Judge calls BNF Central Committee to be transparent, mature and open

As the dust settled last week in court between some disgruntled members of the BNF, Thuso Mogorosi and others, who were seeking to bar Duma Boko from standing for the presidency of the BNF, Francistown High Court Judge, Moses Chinhengo, lashed at the BNF Central Committee for being immature, lacking openness and transparency.

Giving the judgment to a fully packed court on Thursday, Chinhengo indicated that there is need for the Central Committee of the party to communicate issues with members before they end in court.
He dismissed the application, saying that a political organization should not be treated like a public entity, which is subjected to administrative justice, but rather conflicts should be resolved within the political scope.

Basing on the relief sort by the applicants that the decision by the BNF Central Committee to rescind Boko to stand as a candidate is illegitimate, Chinhengo stated that part of the BNF Clause 19.1 that one cannot stand for the presidency if he was never a member for five years or more is incurably ambiguous.

“In this regard the person who drafted the law is the one who is to suffer, it is not the BNF or Boko,” the Judge maintained.

Chinhengo added that the court can only issue a declaratory order, which then could be consequential to the Party.

The core of the argument was that Boko should not stand for the party presidency as he once formed a rival party, the National Democratic Front (NDF) and only rejoined BNF in a period less than five years, which deemed him as unqualified.

However, Chinhengo stated that the clause is totally unclear as it does not indicate that if one was once a member before he joined another party should those years be counted as qualifying or not.
“I cannot rule out the fact that Boko joined the party in 1984 as alleged by both parties but again Clause 19.1 of the BNF constitution is incurably unclear as to whether Boko’s term in BNF should not allow him for the candidacy,” he said.

Chinhengo added that although BNF and Boko are the respondents in the matter, they cannot be regarded as the same, which then favours Boko to stand for the presidency. The judge also pointed out that the clause would negate the BNF only if Boko was the applicant and BNF being the respondent.

He continued to state that it would also be unfair to hold BNF liable as the applicants were not on the same side as Boko. The Judge further advised BNF to consider such pitfalls at their national congress, adding that the party lacks maturity and openness, resulting such a matter being brought to court.

Among other arguments, one of the attorneys representing the applicants, Dumezweni Mthimkhulu, of Masire and Mthimkhulu Associates, had argued that Boko holds a fraudulent membership card, which he claims to have been given in 2003 but bears the numbers that were only active in 2007. The applicants have also indicated in their affidavit that the card belongs to one Freddy Goepamang, who has since passed away. They took issue with the fact that Boko’s membership ceased when he, together with other members, founded the NDF, a splinter party of which he is alleged to have been its Publicity Secretary.

However, Chinhengo indicated that although the applicants had proved in the affidavit that the card could be fraudulent, it leaves little bearing on the matter as the core relief sort by the applicants is anchored on the fact that his membership in BNF ceased when he formed the NDF.
Boko has maintained to be a legitimate member of the BNF and has refuted the allegations as malicious.

Chinhengo ordered that both parties pay their own costs with regard to all the legal proceedings in the case.

The respondents, BNF and Boko were represented by Abel Toteng and Mboki Chilisa and the applicants were represented by Dumezweni Mthimkhulu and Laone Masire.

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