Sunday, May 16, 2021

Mogwera wins first round against BOPEU

Former Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) President Masego Mogwera’s has won a major legal battle against an adversarial faction of the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) but she still has a legal war ahead of her.

A panel of three High Court Judges: Justice Tebogo Tau, Justice Chris Gabanagae and Justice Gabriel Komboni on Friday ruled that the 27th April 2019 decision to suspend Mogwera from the Union was unlawful.

“It is hereby declared that the decision to suspend the Applicant as President of Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) made on 27th April 2019 is unlawful and it is accordingly set aside; the proceedings of the meeting held on 27th April 2019 and chaired by the first respondent are set aside and the decisions taken at the said meeting are declared null and void, ’’said Justice Komboni

When delivering their verdict, the three judges made it clear that they were aware of a pending case between BOPEU and Mogwera before Justice Mercy Gaarekwe. Mogwera is challenging here expulsion from the union before Justice Gaarekwe.

According to court records the respondents (BOPEU) argued that on 1st December 2019 Mogwera was expelled from the union at a Special General Congress. They argued that since she was no longer a member of BOPEU she could not be its President until the expulsion is set aside or interdicted. 

“In my view therefore the issue of the validity of the resolutions of the meeting of 27th April 2019 has significance in respect of the affairs of the sixth respondent which is a very large trade union in the country. It is in my judgment a discrete legal issue of public importance. It is also common cause and agreed between the parties that this matter is a consolidation of three matters in which different remedies are sought, said judge Komboni

He further said “If I am to hold that the matter of the applicant is moot because of her expulsion, this will have an impact on the other two matters which are part of the consolidation. So, the decision that this court would make will have a practical impact or effect on this litigation and others still to come. I have no doubt that the orders that will be made in respect of the remedies that the applicant has persisted with will have a practical effect. I therefore hold that on the basis of the foregoing, the current proceedings are not moot.” 

Komboni observed that it is common cause that Mogwera’s dismissal is the subject of a pending legal matter before Garekwe) under case number MAHGB-000948-19.

Justice Komboni also observed that “perhaps it is appropriate to state right from the onset that the sixth respondent, being the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) is a divided house. It is admitted by all the parties that there are two factions of the Sixth Respondent, one led by Masego Mogwera, the applicant, and the other led by Olefile Monakwe the first Respondent. 

Mogwera is yet to appear before Justice Mercy Gaarekwe challenging her expulsion from the Union by Union delegates.

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