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CoA dismisses BOPEU expedited appeal


The Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed a matter brought by Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) in which the union wanted an earlier application to be considered on expedited basis.

Olefile Monakwe, BOPEU President and Kaboyaone Sedimo, Secretary General are challenging Justice Mercy Garekwe’s decision to restore Masego Mogwera and Topias Marenga into office as president and secretary-general of BOPEU respectively.

In essence, Monakwe had moved two Court of Appeal applications — the first one challenging Garekwe’s ruling, the second one being an application for expediting the appeal, as well as an application for consolidation of all his appeals.

Moreover, he had moved to seek a stay of execution in Justice Garekwe’s ruling. In the appeal against Garekewe’s judgement and the application for consolidation of his appeal cases he cited himself as the president of BOPEU.

In his ruling, Justice Lesetedi indicated that BOPEU has for some years now have been plagued by an internal fight between two factions.

He further ruled that because as a juristic person it has no mind or limbs of its own, the trade union acts through its duly appointed or elected representatives in their capacities as such, they acting validly in accordance with its constitution.

Thus, in litigation, its lawful representatives must authorise the institution of the legal proceedings and the power of attorney signed by a lawfully authorised representative.

“The applicant’s extract of the resolution was signed by Monakwe purportedly in his capacity as the President of BOPEU. The extract does not say who attended the meeting of the National Executive Committee. It was necessary for the appellant in a case where the resolution was challenged, to show that it is upon the one relying upon that resolution to prove its validity,” read the ruling.

Moreover, Lesetedi indicated that there is no presumption of regularity in a case such as this. Once an objection was raised as to the validity of the resolution and, as here, by parties who are office holders of the decision-making body which the resolution is attributed, an onus lay upon the applicant to disclose the attendees of the said National Executive Committee meeting who passed that resolution.

“BOPEU’s constitution demonstrates that the power to preside over the meetings of the National Executive Committee and responsibility for the proper conduct of all such members is bestowed upon the President of BOPEU. So is the power to sign legal documents on behalf of the Union,” the court said.

According to Lesetedi, the reply to challenge on the validity of the resolution and on the prayer of costs by the respondents was laconic.

“It was that save to deny that Mogwera is the President of BOPEU and also deny that the contents of her affidavit were true and correct, no issue arose. The applicant therefore failed in its replying affidavit, to prove the validity of the resolution. In the absence of a valid authorisation to do so, Monakwe could therefore not purport to certify an extract of a resolution of BOPEU in his capacity as BOPEU’s President nor could he certify it in a different capacity without disclosing the authority upon which such certification is made,” the court said.

It was also indicated in the ruling that the applicant was not properly before the Court.

“What is evident is that Monakwe whose powers of control over BOPEU were removed by the judgement of the court a quo appealed against has by this application paraded BOPEU as the appellant when he is the face behind the mask, using BOPEU as a cat’s paw to claw back the power that he has lost through the judgement of the 7th May 2021.”

Judge Lesetedi pointed out in his ruling that it was Monakwe who through his stewardship of BOPEU oversaw the decisions which were made in BOPEU’s name, whether the courts a quo were correct in making the orders they did, for purposes of the application, not a consideration.

“Monakwe and his faction are the immediate beneficiaries if the reliefs are granted and will conversely suffer the immediate practical prejudice if the application is unsuccessful. On the other hand, BOPEU continues to operate under either of the two factions as quote rightly acknowledged by the applicant’s counsel,” he said.

It was on those grounds that Justice Lesetedi struck out the application indicating that it is unnecessary to discuss the other points of limine.

“It is convenient however to note in passing that even on the merits the application did not stand much out of chance to succeed. The two factions have brought considerable litigation to the courts since their acrimony arose. Many of the litigations were brought on urgency.”

Battling out in court, Mogwera’s Attorney Leburu vigorously attacked the claim made by Monakwe arguing that he had no legal standing to bring the applications as a BOPEU president since he had lost all powers that had been vested on him as soon as Gearekwe’s judgement was passed.

Last year a panel of three judges also attested to this regarding Monakwe’s fate as a usurper of power.

Leburu had argued in court before the ruling was made that by continuing to cite himself as president, Monakwe was contemptuous and his actions were now tantamounyt to self-help. “it seems like Monakwe has awarded himself ‘the stay’ even before the courts of law could decide his fate.”


Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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