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Mogalakwe stumbles at finish line

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Mogalakwe PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Former councillor Mogalakwe Mogalakwe’s attorneys are considering appealing the High Court ruling delivered on Wednesday night in the long running October 23, 2019 elections petition.

Attorney Patrick Kgoadi said they would assess their prospects of winning their appeal before they could make a decision. The issue arose after the High Court dismissed Mogalakwe’s petition with costs on the 90th day within which election petitions can be heard. Mogalakwe approached the Court complaining about irregularities during the poll.

The former councillor for Mosolotshane-Moralane ward had taken Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to Court pleading for the outcome of the ward in the Shoshong constituency to be declared null and void. He claimed that the elections were not free and fair.

His case was before a panel of three judges namely Gaopalelwe Ketlogetswe, Itumeleng Segopolo and Omphemetse Motumise.

“We have to wait for the reasons that the court will deliver on February 27, 2020. The reasons will help us to assess the matter well.  Then we will inform the client if we stand a chance or not. It will be up to the client if he wants us to go ahead with the appeal or not,” a disappointed Kgoadi said.  In the judgement Justice Motumise said Kesebelwang Gaorongwe of the BDP was duly elected as the area councillor for the ward.

Still on the case, Justice Ketlogetswe said the court is not obliged to stop hearing the case even if 90 days stipulated on IEC Act end.  Judge Ketlogetswe was making a ruling in

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which the BDP attorney, Busang Manewe had warned the Judges that they would appeal the case if by 12 midnight the ruling or case would still be on.

Manewe’s contention was that the Judges did not have powers to preside over the matter if 90 days had been reached as per the IEC Act section 121. In their submission, one of Mogalakwe’s attorneys, Faustino Ngandu said the Court had to consider evidence given from their witnesses since the election officer had failed to extend time even though it was windy and raining.  “We submit that the election officer could have extended the time by 45 minutes to enable those who had gone home due to bad weather to come and vote. Even those people living with disability were not assisted by the presiding officer. Those people could have voted Mogalakwe,” Ngandu said.

However, IEC Advocate Oaitse Rammidi submitted that the applicant [Mogalakwe] failed to show how the election officer could have contravened or breached the IEC Act and they have failed even to call 38 witnesses who could testified that they could not vote due to bad weather.  He said failure to demonstrate that IEC Act was breached was a clear sign that there were no irregularities at the ward. The BDP won the ward with 674 votes against AP’s 637 while the UDC candidate got 264 votes.

 



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