As the never-ending factional wars at the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) rear the ugly head at the Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU), recalled president Martin Gabobake has issued a Notice of Motion.
The Notice of Motion is for intent to approach the court for an urgent interdict against the federation for removing him from the position.
The BFTU had last week sent letters to its affiliates informing them that it had placed Martha Molema as acting president. She will act until the next General Council Meeting, which will be held soon, where a decision will be made on the position going forward.
The federation said in the letters that the decision came after it had received communication from its affiliate, BOPEU, recalling Gabobake.
Gabobake, who is a member of BOPEU, won the BFTU presidency by popular vote three years ago during the federation’s congress. At the time, he was BOPEU’s first president, a position, he later on lost to Olefile Monakwe.
Meanwhile, the federation had also noted that Gabobake is spurning BOPEU demands.
In his Notice of Motion issued on Friday through his attorneys, Gabobake wants the court to urgently grant an interim order returnable on May 20, 2021, calling upon BFTU to show cause why an order interdicting and restraining it from effecting BOPEU’s demands in so far as it relates to him should not be made final.
He also wants the contents of the BFTU letter authored in the first week of April to be set aside and the federation to bear the costs of the application.
Gabobake has cited constitutional protection, that he was not seconded by BOPEU to BFTU, but
According to him, the letter that recalled him should be ignored as its author Kaboyaone Sedimo is not the general secretary of BOPEU as purported.
“The author of the letter dated March 18, 2021, is in fact not the general secretary of BOPEU, in this regard, we attach hereto a judgement of a panel of three judges of the High Court, which set aside the foundational basis upon which the said Kaboyaone Rash Sedimo was appointed. No doubt the circumstances of his ascendance to general secretary were akin to a coup d’état hence it was set aside by three judges,” he said.
Gabobake also argued that his ascendancy to the BFTU presidency was not an assignment of BOPEU nor a deployment by the union. He said, as such, BOPEU has no such powers to recall him.
“A review of the BOPEU constitution has no provision dealing with recall and/or the deployment of a cadre of the union. In this case, the said Kaboyaone Sedimo cannot exercise a power which he does not have,” he added.
He argued the BFTU regrettably acted without legal consideration when it used Sedimo’s letter to transform it into its decision. Gabobake said his ascendancy to the BFTU presidency was as a result of him winning an election. He argued, as such, production of an election process cannot be recalled without powers derived from the constitution.