-Disciplinary committee conducts further investigations -Disciplinary committee needs more time to address mediation request - Butale demands unconditional reinstatement -Butale’s membership rights restored but remains interdicted from BPF Presidency
It is a taxing time for suspended Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) President Biggie Butale as the party Disciplinary Committee has revealed that it is carrying out further investigations on his alleged misconduct.
Butale who has been on suspension for over 20 months now, faces a bleak future as leader of the BPF. He could likely be barred from defending his seat as president in the party’s October elective congress. The disciplinary committee has taken a decision to restore his membership rights as an ordinary member.
Butale however remains interdicted from executing duties as BPF president. The Disciplinary Committee has revealed that given all the material evidence presented before it by both parties, it has decided to investigate the matter further.
The BPF suspended Butale last year Septembe pending a disciplinary hearing against him over a series of charges. Butale, the founding President of the BPF, was slapped with sexual misconduct as it was alleged that he violated a young female colleague at the party.
The other charge was that on the 15th of May 2021 he allegedly convened a meeting aimed at paralysing, causing division and breaking up the BPF at a farm near Mahalapye, a farm suspected to belong to One Molebatsi who is a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) member.
Butale is also alleged to have gone to media houses and further besmirched the party name by saying he is being set up and that people want to remove him because he is not a Mongwato.
In the suspension letter dated 8th of September 2021 addressed to Butale, the DC stated that at their meeting of 8th of September 2021, in accordance with clause 40 of the BPF Constitution and in exercising its functions and powers, “the Disciplinary Committee resolved to suspend you from the Botswana Patriotic pending a disciplinary hearing on allegations leveled against you.
“The suspension is based on the fact that it is not in the best interest of the party that you continue to discharge your duties as the President of the party before your cases can be heard.”
Following a series of back-and-forth developments in Butale’s disciplinary hearing, he wrote to the party late last month through his attorneys Monthe Marumo and Company demanding to be reinstated to his position with immediate effect.
The law firm indicated that it is unlawful for the party to suspend the president or any member indefinitely as is the case currently. Disciplinary action, if any should be taken immediately after the commission of the alleged transgression, not unless such suspension is meant to serve some other ulterior motive, reads the letter dated 28th of July 2022.
According to the letter, since his suspension in September last year Butale has not been furnished with any charge sheet, nor has the disciplinary hearing been convened.
In a recent development the disciplinary committee has stated that it has received all material evidence available before it by both parties in view of determining the matter before it and deciding on the matter as per its powers under the constitution and its subsidiary laws.
“The committee has considered the matter and at this material point in time decides that it needs to investigate further given the seriousness of the offences alleged to have been committed by the respondent, especially given the position he holds in the party.
“On the request for mediation, the committee needs further time to bring both parties together and will look to do this in the shortest possible time frame.
Therefore, the committee has decided that in view of the above factors, the respondent being Mr Butale’s membership rights as an ordinary member of the party be restored with immediate effect while the committee pursues further investigations into the matter. This is to avoid disenfranchising him going forward,” reads the letter.
According to the disciplinary committee it has also decided that Butale remain interdicted from discharging duties and functions of the office of BPF President until conclusion of the case.
It is the committee’s position that the office of President of the party is too important and powerful an office for one to occupy while being investigated and it would be rather heavy on the committee to continue to make a president in office appear before it.
“It is therefore, this Committee’s decision that the respondent remains interdicted from discharging the duties of the office of president of the BPF as occupying the office would easily enable obstruction of our investigations into this matter,” the committee ruled.