The Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) president, Biggie Butale's reinstatement as the legitimate leader of the party has been made a final court order while the parties behind his suspension face possible jail time.
According to today's court order, Butale's suspension by the party’s NEC last month was illegal.
Answering Butale's prayers, Lobatse High Court's Justice Michael Motlhabi ordered that the BPF leader's June 5, 2023, suspension is to be set aside. Motlhabi said the respondents in the case being the BPF secretary-general Tshekedi Khama, Lazarus Lekgoanyana, Ford Moiteela, Prince Bosilong, party patron Ian Khama, Motswasele Kganetso, Dr Kolaatamo Malefho, party spokesperson Lawrence Ookeditse, and Amogelang Mokwena are in contempt of the court order that Justice Matlhogonolo Phuthego delivered in April.
Motlhabi further gave the respondents seven days from the date of the court order to file affidavits in mitigation. He announced that the sentence in relation to their contemptuous conduct will be delivered on August 7. The embattled party president had always wanted the respondents thrown behind bars for ‘undermining’ his authority. Butale, who had been purportedly expelled from the party before today’s judgment had always disclosed that he feels some power hungry members of his party want to 'steal' his presidency.
Previously, on June 9, Butale had won the first round of court battles when Motlhabi issued a rule nisi ordering that his June 5 suspension letter be stayed pending the determination of the application. The order also interdicted and restrained BPF vice president, Mephato Reatile, or any BPF NEC member from taking any act purporting to implement any resolution made in the NEC meeting said to have been held on June 5.
Before the current judgment, Butale earlier this month was suspended by one Barulaganye Letang of the BPF Disciplinary Committee and then expelled by Tshekedi. Motlhabi’s judgment means that he is now back at the helm of the troubled opposition outfit formed on the eve of the 2019 General Election.