Sunday, February 28, 2021

Marobels’s tiff with BDP central committee in High Court

The political storm between Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) member Whyte Marobela and the party’s central committee is far from over.
On Thursday last week the Lobatse High Court ruled in favour of Marobela, and directed the BDP not to submit Ignitius Moswaane’s name to the Independence Electoral Commission (IEC) as the party’s parliamentary candidate for the Francistown West by-election until the BDP central committee had decided Marobela’s appeal on the outcome of the primaries.
The contested BDP primaries were won by Moswaane; however, he was unable to register during the nomination process following a court order barring the BDP from submitting his name pending a hearing of Marobela’s appeal.
The BDP on Friday swiftly dismissed his appeal on the outcome of the Francistown West by-election primaries.
But Marobela has not given up as he has dropped another bombshell and will drag the party to court to challenge the outcome of last week’s appeal process.
Marobela insists that last week’s prompt appeal convened some hours before the IEC nomination deadline was a sham.
Through his lawyers Jonas Attorneys, Marobela has written to the BDP central committee querying the appeal hearing and tags it a ‘circus’.
The bespectacled political veteran says the central committee out of political expediency shelled the party constitution and disregarded the rules of natural justice while presiding over his appeal.
Marobela says that he had expected the party leadership to call him to a hearing to enable him to provide evidence to make a case on why the Francistown primaries should be nullified.
Marobela is unwavering and has notified the party’s Secretary General Mpho Balopi that he intends to go to court again, this time to declare the appeal process a nullity.
“….Your purported hearing of 01 November 2013 in relation to this matter is a charade and the resultant decision there from a nullity on account of failure of compliance with the script of your own constitution. The constitution of the BDP does not exclude observance of due process rights in matters such as the present one, therefore it is necessarily implied that in determining such matters the structures of the party will observe all concepts of due process to the extent reasonably practicable,” states Marobela’ Lawyer Obonye Jonas.
“A close reading of the BDP verdict on our client’s appeal demonstrates in no small measure how the Central Committee constrained was in deciding the appeal. For instance, in its ruling, under all the grounds of appeal, the central committee makes the following findings of fact; that the appeal is unmeritorious because it is ‘unsupported by concrete evidence’ or ‘there is no evidence’ or the ground is ‘unsubstantiated’….how would our client substantiate anything if he was denied the opportunity to participate in the proceedings?” question Marobela’s lawyers.
The lawyers state that the BDP central committee did not comprehensively adjudicate over the appeal but merely browsed through Marobela’s grounds of appeal without calling Marobela to clarify claims of irregularities.
“In a nutshell, our client rejects the decision of the Central Committee of the BDP of his appeal because the process embarked by the Committee in arriving at this outcome was in breach of all the relevant rules in the book,” reads the letter by Marobela’s lawyers.
More critically, the lawyers say, the Central Committee’s decision falls short of meeting the order of Motswagole J, when he directed that their client’s appeal be finalised by the BDP, because the judge’s order in this connection can only be understood to mean that the appeal was to be determined in line with the BDP Constitution which embodies the principles of due process and fair play, both of which have been disregarded in the present case.
 Meanwhile the ruling party is busy preparing a lawsuit to compel the IEC to allow Moswaane to run during the impending by-election.

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