Justice Bengbame Sechele of Francistown High Court is today (Wednesday) expected to deliver a ruling on Botswana Landboard Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) urgent application over the renewal of Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa’s contract .
Last Friday the Union Vice President 1, Nicholas Letso Mothelesi, Vice President 2 Boemo Bato and Treasurer General Baone Seloka filed an urgent application challenging the renewal of the contract.
Motshegwa was elected the SG in 2010 and re-elected in 2013.
Following the scheduled ruling today, normal process is expected to be followed to argue the merits of the case.
The three applicants had wanted Motshegwa to be suspended from BLLAHWU duties pending the outcome of the court case.
According to court papers, in 2013 he was fired from Francistown City Council and his membership with the union was terminated since he was not working for any union affiliate.
The Central Executive Committee (CEC) then appointed him on interim basis. The contract ended on the 30th of June.
The Union President, Thatayaone Kesebonye, called a special meeting on the 19th of June and proposed to retain Motshegwa but the three CEC members were against the idea.
Their argument is that the SG is a non-union member and that renewal of his contract will be a violation of the constitution.
Article17.1.2 state that the CEC shall hold office for a period of three years and with a limit of two terms.
The SG has been holding the position for 10 years contrary to the constitution.
At the meeting, according to the court documents, six members were present except for Motshegwa as the meeting was about him.
Kesebonye suggested that they vote since some were against his motion.
Mothelesi, Seloka and Bato voted against the motion while the other two CEC members supported it.
The union President also voted forcing a 3-3 tie and used the casting vote to break it in favour of Motshegwa, an act that the concerned applicants believe is against the constitution as the president was not supposed to vote twice.
It is said the decision was made to protect the president’s interest and friendship as it has been established that the two are the directors of Leiso Projects, a company registered in December 2019.
In their response the defendants filed a new five year contract of Motshegwa effecting 1st of July with new clauses.
The new clauses are that if he terminates the contract he should give the employer a three-month notice or pay for a month.
In the event he is fired, the employer should give him three months notice and pay him for the remaining years of the agreement.
In the old contract the SG was entitled to 25 leave days while in the new one it is 30 days per annum.
The second applicant, Seloka, told The Voice that when they raise their concerns at CEC they get victimised and told they are sponsored by the Botswana Democratic Party to cause disruption.
He said they wonder what pressurised the president to extend Motshegwa’s contract when he knew it was against the constitution.
“Members have already started asking why he is still in office. He told them his term is coming to an end and the constitution does not allow him to continue. He said so when we were at Governing Council, Annual General Meeting and at the congress. We do not know anything about the new contract, we only saw it in their response in court documents. The position of SG is not for recruitment nor can an individual be appointed to it by the majority vote of the CEC. It is held by a union member duly elected at the congress,” said Seloka