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Court buries AP’s Mogalakwe

Almost a year after the 2019 general elections, Alliance for Progressives’ (AP) Mogalakwe Mogalakwe’s lone crusade came crashing down on Tuesday.

The Court of Appeal (CoA) dismissed the wannabe councilor’s election petition case with costs, crushing the opposition’s last hope of proving they were cheated out of the elections.

Mogalakwe is convinced his defeat at the council elections for Moralane ward in Shoshong constituency was unfair.

The AP man narrowly lost out to Botswana Democratic Party’s Kesebelwang Gaorongwe by 637 votes to 674.

Mogalakwe sought to have the result annulled and took his grievances to the High Court. He suffered his second loss in a matter of months as in February Court dismissed his application by a majority decision.

Undeterred, Mogalakwe appealed the High Court’s decision on the grounds that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was in breach of its constitutional mandate.

His drawn out fight ended in a knockout blow this week.

Bringing the matter to a conclusion, the CoA dismissed Mogalakwe’s basis for appeal as ‘an afterthought’.

“The constitution is a sacred document and is not to be trifled with. Constitutional issues must not be raised frivolously and if a litigant complains of the breach of any of his constitutional rights, then he must proceed by way of proper constitutional application. It is improper to invoke the constitution where, as in this case, the dispute relates to matters which can be determined without recourse to the constitution,” the CoA judgment reads in part.

In his appeal, Mogalakwe had raised a number of complaints.

He accused his BDP opponent of canvassing for votes at the polling station. He also noted there was a huge thunderstorm on the day of the election, which he argued prevented some constituents from voting as adequate shelter was not provided.

Mogalakwe further complained there was an absence of adequate lighting during the voting process. He claimed only a cadac lamp was provided and when it failed officers used their cellphones for lighting.

He also made mention of a lack of assistance for illiterate and disabled voters.

However, the CoA ruled that Mogalakwe failed to satisfy all of his complaints.

“As regards to canvassing at the polling station, the court found that the bulk of the evidence on the subject was hearsay while a large portion of the case of canvassing was quickly abandoned by the petitioner.

“The decision of the court quo to dismiss the petition was based on findings of fact and credibility. It is trite that an appellant court will not disturb findings of fact of credibility by a trial court unless such findings are manifestly wrong or result from a misdirection,” reads the CoA judgment, effectively hammering a final nail into Mogalakwe’s petition case.

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