Red Cross Elections Halted Yet Again

In charge: Kutlwano Mukokomani is the Red Cross secretary-general
In charge: Kutlwano Mukokomani is the Red Cross secretary-general

For the third time in eight months, the High Court has interdicted the Botswana Red Cross Society from holding an elective Annual General Assembly.

This comes after the president and vice president hopefuls, Maipelo Mophuting and Nelson Rammala, approached the court on urgency seeking an interdict while they challenged the outcome of the arbitration that excludes them from contesting elections.

On January 30, 2021, Mophuting and Rammala were granted an order to interdict the society’s election for the three positions on the assembly's agenda until the matter is finalised. The society through secretary-general Kutlwano Mukokomani had disqualified the duo questioning their membership standing. They were ordered to apply for a review or other relief not later than seven court days from the date of the order. The two parties would, however, fail to resolve the matter amicably. On May 17, the society’s secretary-general, Mukokomani wrote a letter inviting members to the assembly, which was scheduled for June 18, 2021.

Through the invitation, Mukokomani stated that nominees for president and deputy president remained unchanged, which meant Mophuting and Rammala would yet again not be allowed to contest in the election. The duo then approached the court on urgency calling on the court to interdict the elections while Mukokomani and the society, who are respondents in the matter, opposed the applications arguing that the duo was not qualified to stand for elections.

The duo managed to stop the elections from going ahead. Justice Chris Gabanagae directed the respondents to nominate and communicate their choice of the arbitrator in seven days and the elections stay until the final determination of the arbitration.

The arbitrators concluded that Mophuting is not qualified to run for the position of president because she did not meet the two-year membership required as in the society's constitution. Regarding Rammala, it was stated that he is not qualified to run for elections as vice president of the society on the grounds of not being a member, as he failed to produce proof of membership. The duo would then approach the High Court again seeking an interdict of the elections while awaiting a review application.

They want the court to set aside the arbitration outcome stating that the process was flawed. Just a day before the Society could assemble, Lobatse High Court's Justice Ookeditse Maphakwane stopped the elections set for July 31, 2021, pending final determination of the review application lodged against the arbitration award.

Editor's Comment
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