FRANCISTOWN: The regional chairperson of the Francistown Regional Football Association (FRAFA) Maokaneng Bontshetse got a reprieve Thursday after the High Court ruled in favour of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and its second vice president Pelotshweu Motlogelwa.
. The BFA found itself in court after it suspended FRAFA’s secretary general, Isaac Mabuta from all football activities for alleged misappropriation of funds. Mabuta was challenging Bontshetse for the position of FRAFA chairperson. Bontshetse was voted as FRAFA chairperson unopposed over the past weekend.
This happened despite Mabuta’s spirited effort to stop the FRAFA regional elections and assembly that were supposed to have taken place on June 2. Initially, Mabuta succeeded through an urgent court application to stop the election from taking place on June 2. On June 2, the High Court and all the parties in the matter agreed through a consent order to hear the matter on June 8. After the June 8 appearance, which was held in Solomon’s chambers, the court however, did not issue an injunction to stop the elections and assembly from taking place on June 9.
Instead, the court made an order that Mabuta through his attorney, Mbiganyi Mhizha should file his papers on June 11 while the defendants who are represented by Joseph Akoonyatse were to file their replying papers on June 12. The court then made an order that it would deliver judgement on points in limine (a hearing on a specific legal point which takes place before the actual case referred can be heard) on June 14. On Thursday Solomon dismissed the appellant’s case stating that it had no merit.
Delivering a short verdict, Solomon said that article 46 of the BFA constitution empowers the BFA Emergency Committee (EC) powers to deal with any matter that may arise in between the sitting
Mabuta had argued that the decision to suspend him was unprocedural because the NEC in accordance with article 46.4 of the BFA constitution did not sanction it. He had also argued that his suspension was unprocedural because the president of BFA did not convene any meeting to suspend him and that there was nothing to show that a meeting was held to suspend him in any event.
Mabuta added that if ever the respondents aver that a meeting was somehow held to suspend him, no communication to that effect took place to validate the decision of the EC as per the article 46.2 of the BFA constitution. However, Solomon said that in her view, the EC was correct to suspend Mabuta because it was going to be impossible for the NEC to ratify the decision of the EC after 21 days since the matter was brought to court on urgency.
She stated that according to the rules of natural justice, the matter could not have proceeded without the involvement of the other party as the appellant had sought. Mabuta, as Solomon had also noted in her ruling, was of the view that he would suffer irreparable harm or prejudice if the elections and assembly were held when his suspension was not lifted.
At the end of the ruling, Solomon advised the applicant to file his heads of argument on June 21 in order for the merits of the case to be heard.
The judge then set the matter for argument on June 25.