Biggie Butale's latest escapade, in his unconventional bid to return to the leadership of the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), has encountered a setback.
On September 19, Butale represented by his attorney Kole Kole, made an unusual move by attempting to secure a judgment and reinstatement without serving the BPF, its National Executive Committee (NEC) or the president, Mephato Reatile. Astonishingly, less than 24 hours later, Butale and Kole withdrew their application.
"Further take notice that the Applicant abandons the order setting down the matter for ruling on the 26th September 2023. Note further that the said proceedings having been ex parte, this withdrawal and abandonment are without a tender of costs," stated the notice of withdrawal and abandonment. Reports suggest that the BPF's NEC only became aware of Butale's pursuit of judgment through a local newspaper, while they awaited a date for the review application. Butale was quoted in The Botswana Gazette, affirming his belief that he is the legitimate president of the BPF and emphasising his expulsion without a proper hearing.
He mentioned anticipation for a forthcoming judgment as the BPF NEC had failed to submit their notice of defence. When BPF attorney Mokotedi was questioned about these developments, he expressed surprise, explaining that they had been exchanging legal documents in preparation for the review application. The sudden application from Butale and his attorney was discovered through the media. Consequently, Kole was warned to withdraw the matter, or they would file for case dismissal and seek costs de bonis propriis, which is an order made against attorneys for serious negligence. “I can confirm that there was an attempt to snatch an Order ex parte by the Applicant. We had not been served with a Set Down or the reasons why they seek judgment ex parte when we are still exchanging pleadings.
The Applicant may have acted out of desperation, impulsiveness or on a wrong appreciation of the law. The Applicant’s attorneys have since abandoned their ex parte application for judgment. In any event, I doubt the review application would have succeeded even in our absence given the patent structural deficiencies of the review application,” Mokotedi said. Butale had previously filed a review application before Justice Boipuso Makhwe, seeking a stay of the decisions made by BPF and its NEC to suspend and expel him. These decisions were conveyed in letters dated July 4, 2023, and July 13, 2023, respectively. Additionally, Butale sought an order compelling the respondents to explain why they should not provide a complete record of the proceedings related to his suspension and expulsion within seven days. Butale, who had faced two prior suspensions, ultimately lost his position as BPF's leader after the third suspension and subsequent expulsion.
He sought recourse through the courts, with Justice Zein Kebonang ruling in favour of the faction led by Mephato Reatile. Despite initially filing an appeal with the High Court, which he later withdrew, Butale persisted by filing a review application and an interlocutory application for a stay pending review. While the review was with Justice Makhwe, the stay application went before Justice Itumeleng Segopolo, who dismissed it, stating it was not within his purview. Undeterred, Butale persevered by filing the same matter before Justice Makhwe, who also dismissed it. Now, Butale's aspirations hinge on the pending review application.