Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) has successfully interdicted and restrained Kaboyaone Sedimo from carrying out any official duties as the union’s purported general-secretary (GS).
Sedimo was doing secretarial duties for the union during the time they had suspended Mogwera and her faction from office.
The Monakwe faction believed that Marenga’s contract had expired and that he was no longer the GS of the union. Now, Justice Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe of Lobatse High Court has confirmed Mogwera and Marenga’s legitimacy and ordered that Sedimo stop acting as GS of the union. “The respondent is interdicted from purporting to be the general-secretary of the union. He is restrained from obstructing any official of BOPEU as recognised in terms of Trade Unions and Employers Organisations Act from performing their functions as such, including but not limited to access to the union office and related matters,” he said.
The judge explained that Mogwera and Marenga were in law recognised as office bearers of BOPEU as set out in the notice issued by the Registrar of Trade Unions dated May 12, 20201 therefore they should be allowed to carry out the duties of the union without any interference. Justice Ketlogetswe also cancelled the meeting that was scheduled without Mogwera and Marenga’s knowledge, which was supposed to be convened at Travel Lodge or any location at the instance of Sedimo.
“The notice disseminated by the respondent on July 8, 2021, purporting to be from a round robin meeting to be declared null and void and set aside,” he said. Justice Ketlogetswe went on to voice his concerns about the never-ending litigations happening at the union.
The judge pointed out that it was of a great concern to the Lordships, judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal respectively about the union wars. “On no less that two occasions the High Court and Court of Appeal have commented on the seemingly non-ending feuds and fights within the union, and expressed the view that the fights within the union had the potential to harm the interests of the union to the prejudice of the members as these non-ending litigations came at no costs to the union,” Ketlogwetswe said.
The judge told the parties that he hoped that those who genuinely are concerned with the interests of the union would see through these unnecessary fights and bring those in the leadership of the union to their senses. Meanwhile, on the present case, is that as part of the never-ending story of the fights within the union, according to Mogwera on July 8, 2021 while she and Marenga were on their way to Maun to attend a meeting of Babereki Investments, she received an email communication from Sedimo in his purported capacity as the GS of the union.
In the said email communication, Sedimo allegedly was to call a special meeting of the national executive committee (NEC) of the union with one of the key items on the agenda of that special meeting to deliberate on whether or not the NEC should exercise its powers to take disciplinary action against its president and pending institution of such disciplinary proceedings to consider suspending her from office. According to court documents, the special NEC meeting was scheduled to take place on July 10, 2021 while Mogwera and Marenga were away. “In short, the respondent was planning a coup by some in the union leadership, in the absence of the union leadership. Mogwera was jolted into action and convened a round robin meeting of the union NEC to thwart the coup. The result was the institution of the present application on an urgent basis,” read the court papers.