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- This with regard to previous leadership ouster case before Lobatse high court
- Cllrs pass motion for NWDC to bear legal costs for Kelebetseng and Folae
- 19 voted for while 5 voted against the motion
- The other 5 councillors did not vote
- Council attorney reveal they are disinclined to express any views
In a new turn of events in the case in which former North West District Council (NWDC) chairman, Kebareeditse Ntsogotho and his deputy Lekonne Masoko dragged council before court for unlawful removal from office, 19 councillors this week adopted a motion calling on council to provide legal representation for respondents, in the incumbent chairman Itumeleng Kelebetseng and his deputy Nico Folae.
In June, in a move largely seen as a political gimmick, Ntsogotho and Masoko were ousted from council leadership through a motion of no confidence and they subsequently filed an urgent application before the Maun High Court challenging the legality of the Special Full Council Meeting that led to their removal from office.
After losing the urgent application which they sought to have Kelebetseng and Folae interdicted from assuming their newly elected positions respectively, pending the review application for an order declaring the elections that led to their ouster unlawful, the duo has since approached the Lobatse High Court to have the elections reviewed and be set aside.
The applicants are also seeking an order removing the incumbents from their positions and they (Ntsogotho and Masoko) be reinstated. Furthermore, they demand back pays of the salaries they earned as chairman and deputy from the time of their dethronement.
The council on Wednesday convened a special full council meeting for an update on the court case, with the NWDC Principal State Council Otsweletse Moupo explaining that the present application is essentially similar to the initial one except that in the new one Kelebetseng has been cited as the beneficiary of the outcome of the election process which sought to be impugned as well as in his capacity as NWDC chairman.
Moupo also stressed that just as in the initial application, the council is disinclined to express any view on the merits of the case, though on the citation of Kelebetseng as the fourth respondent they have engaged the applicants’ attorneys with a view to have the chairman removed. He revealed that they are currently awaiting the response from the applicants’ attorney before taking any further legal actions.
However, the decision by council of not willing to take any side on the case did not seat well with the Botswana Congress Party and Botswana Democratic Party councillors who are backing the incumbent leadership.
This prompted for BCP councillor Ntlogelang Kelebetseng to table a motion proposing for the council to resolve to defend a review of council process and procedures that put the incumbents in office. Secondly, he requested for the first and second respondents be represented by Dingake Law Firm and Partners and for the third and fourth respondents to be represented by Kebonyemodisa Law Firm all appointed by council arguing that Kelebetseng and Folae are sued in their actual capacities as NWDC chairman and deputy. He noted that by doing so it will show that NWDC is very responsive in terms of its mandate of the council.
The motion was seconded by BDP specially nominated councillor, Moetetsi Mogalakwe at the objection of two councillors from the Umbrella for Democratic Change, Limit Banyatsang and Luke Motlaleselelo.
The tie led to the chairman calling for a vote in which 19 councillors voted for the motion and 5 against while others abstained and the motion subsequently passed through.
Opposing the motion, UDC’s Luke Motlaleselelo said council should let the case be dealt with at the courts of law as he is of the view that debating it sets a wrong precedence wondering if council would going forward also debate other court cases that may rise involving councilors.
“Let us allow the courts of law and the council’s legal office to deal with the matter on their own to avoid dragging our council’s reputation in the mud,”Motlaleselelo advised.
He also criticized that convening the special full council meeting to debate the court case was a waste of government funds arguing that, at the previous meeting, it was announced that the case has been registered before the Lobatse High Court.
In support of Motlaleselelo another UDC councilor, Limit Banyatsang also concurred that council should not be involved in the court case as this will be throwing the institution under the bus. “We have the obligation to protect this institution so involving it in this case will be throwing it under the bus, “Banyatsang said.