Butale back on the BPF driving seat

Bame Piet
LEAVING COURT ROOM: Butale and BPF members

Tough road ahead as Khama’s faction mobilise structures against him

In a case that has potential to speed up the demise of Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) or end Biggie Butale’s political career, the Lobatse High Court has reinstated him as BPF president.

The court has also ordered the respondents among them Tshekedi Khama, and his elder brother Former president Dr Lieutenant General Ian Khama to pay the costs of the urgent matter.

The ruling gives the party a green light to hold its congress in Gaborone and not in Selibe-Phikwe as proposed by the Khama faction.

Justice Matlhogonolo Phuthego also interdicted the Khama brothers and others from calling or holding any meeting without authorisation from Butale; or disseminating any information under the official forums and colours of BPF without Butale’s authorisation.

“The Respondents are hereby interdicted and restrained from issuing or publishing any statement on behalf of the BPF and from making use of any BPF property, including but not limited to emails, online and social media platforms, letterheads and stationery,” Phuthego said.

The Khama brothers have also been ordered to hand over the password and administration rights of digital media platforms of the party with immediate effect.

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Justice Phuthego has also barred the Khama faction from obstructing any member of the BPF National Executive Committee from performing their functions.

Still on the matter, the court upheld the suspension of Tshekedi Khama, Vuyo Yane Notha, Robert Mariba, and Prince Bosilong confirmed at the March 28th NEC meeting saying they are lawful and valid and went on to further also bar them from purporting to represent the BPF in any form or manner, without authorisation from the NEC or Butale.

Butale, Reitumetse Aphiri, Ford Moiteela, and the BPF had made an urgent application to the High Court seeking protection against the other faction after they stopped recognising Butale as president.

Aphiri and Moiteela are Acting Secretary General, and Secretary for Political Education respectively.

The dispute emanates from a NEC meeting held on 20th March at Staybridge Hotel in Gaborone, which turned chaotic after heated exchanges and tempers flared between the attendants.

“As emotions escalated, members began to threaten violence on one another and due to the commotion and things getting out of control, I abruptly ended the meeting and postponed it indefinitely. Three members of the NEC being myself, Guma Moyo, and Thatayaone Serema threatened to resign from the party,” said Butale in his affidavit.

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He added that Moyo and Serema resigned the following day, and he did not, since his threats to resign were solely on the spur of the moment and based on the anarchy and ill-discipline that persisted within the party.

The embattled BPF president further noted that he continued discharging his duties as president of the party, which included suspension of the key actors in the anarchy of 28 March 2023.

In his ruling Justice Phuthego stated that the party constitution is clear on how a member resigns from the party, including that he should do that in writing and giving a 30- day notice. He concluded that Butale’s utterances made during a heated exchange cannot be regarded as a resignation as expressed by the other faction.

“Butale, after the ill-fated meeting of 20 March 2023 continued to carry out his duties and even as indicated in a letter that Tshekedi Khama wrote to him. He was spotted in Selibe Phikwe conducting party activities,” Justice Phuthego said.

The judge said the Khama faction failed to counter Butale’s case and therefore ruled in his favour.

Meanwhile, some members of the Khama faction revealed soon after the court case that their next move would be to mobilise a strategy that will ultimately isolate Butale and make him vulnerable enough to be kicked out. They said they have good numbers and influence on the party structures.

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