NEC members accused of corruption and maladministration
Register of Societies entangled in the wars for favouritism
Dissidents de-campaigned and expelled from the union
Concerned members wants the NEC removed from office
At least 15 union members serving in various structures have been either suspended or expelled from the Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) as a bitter war involving the leadership and dissenting members over accusations of corruption, maladministration and violation of the constitution ensues.
The casualties to the dissidents come on the back of the failed urgent application to interdict the leadership that was elected at last year’s congress from holding office.
According to Bophuthu Goshetwang, one of the leading figures in a court application, the leadership of Mine Workers Unions has been disregarding the union’s constitution and failed to account for the finances of the union.
Internal bickering in the union has lingered since 2008, but a resolution for the parties to find a common ground has not been found. Prior to the court action the concerned members of the union wrote to the Registrar of Trade Unions seeking to interdict the new leadership from being registered but failed as well.
The failed application had sought the court to suspend registration of the new leadership and for their recognition to be held in abeyance pending review proceedings on the validity of their registration. They also wanted Fincraft (Pty) Ltd, interdicted from selling shares owned by the union pending finalisation of investigations into the conduct of some in the union leadership.
The applicants further wanted the court also to determine whether the instructions issued by Jack Tlhagale, the union’s president to sell the shares was in accordance with the Resolution the Delegate Congress held on the 26th September 2015.
With dissidents accusing the leadership for maladministration, they also wanted the court to interdict them from assuming office as members of the NEC pending investigations into their eligibility or fitness to hold office and disciplinary action against them for conduct that brings harm to the union.
The applicants argued that the instruction by the leadership to Fincraft (Pty) Ltd to sell shares of the union without necessary mandate thereto had financial exposure of P2.3 million affecting the net value of the Union.
The applicants also accused the union leadership of manipulating minutes of the Delegate’s Congress purporting to be a true reflection of what transpired, yet the contents are inaccurate and not subject to the normal process of approval enunciated in the Constitution of the union.
The court bid however failed after being dismissed on grounds that it was not urgent. The matter will drag on going forward.
Meanwhile eight members have been suspended and seven expelled from the union. Goshetwang was expelled in absentia, after the union failed to send a request to BCL mine for him to be excused from work to appear at the Disciplinary Committee.
Goshetwang told this publication that it was a ploy to get him removed by hook or crook. The DC accused Goshetwang of blatantly disregarding the union internal dispute resolution mechanism when he and others launched an application before court that reportedly led to the union losing out on a major investment at Mmegi Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, resulting in reduction of union shares from 28 percent to 8 percent.
“Anyone who voices his concern about the affairs of the the unions is punished or de-campaigned,” said Goshetwang, who also stated that Tlhagele has now assumed total control of the union and rule by iron fist.
“The union leadership over the pass years have been failing to submit annual returns to the Registrar of Trade Unions, and auditors are being told what do.”
Tlhagele, who is appealing the expulsion from the union has also been shown the door from his job at BCL. Sources close to the developments indicate that the union leadership have convened with BCL management to ensure that he loses his job.
Mbiginyane Ramokate, who Goshetwang describes as member of Tlhagale cohort, wrote to Goshetwang in June informing him that his expulsion appeal was not concluded by the General Council (GC) because members raised issues which required further particulars to be provided to determine his fate.
The GC is expected to be held again next month where Goshetwang’s fate and others who have been suspended and expelled will be decided.
Goshetwang also point a finger of blame at the Registrar of Trade Unions for failing to invoke his powers by launching an investigation into the affairs of BMWU despite compelling evidence presented before his office.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.
In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.
While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.
Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.
Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.