Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Executive Secretary, Thabo Masalila has dragged the party before the labour court for unfair dismissal. Masalila was in March this year fired by the party for allegedly attempting to amend its constitution in a way that would reduce the powers of the party president and give subcommittees more powers, a move that the party believed would make the party President, Ian Khama vulnerable and subject to embarrassment.
By virtue of his position at the time, Masalila reportedly had access to the soft copy of the party constitution, whereupon he allegedly amended certain sections which he then took to the Printing and Publishing Company Botswana for printing before circulating it amongst the members of the party.
Quizzed on the allegations previously, Masalila referred this reporter to the party leadership.
An inside source told The Gazette that the BDP contend that they, as a party, did not fire Masalila but, he was fired by President Ian Khama who is also the President of the party. The source said BDP have their hope on the President’s immunity to get away with the case. “To me it is not a valid argument because Masalila was never appointed by the President but was appointed by the party secretary general,” the source said.
Gaborone lawyer, Letlhogonolo Makgane of Senamela Sekga Attorneys said there was no way immunity can be applicable in this case. “Masalila was not employed by the government, he was working for the BDP. Even when he filed his case I don’t think he would file it against Khama; really, he has no case against him but the party itself,” he said.
The party’s Secretary General, Mpho Balopi told this publication that the matter was a legal issue therefore he was not in a position to comment on it. He referred this publication to the party’s lawyer, Parks Tafa. Efforts by The Gazette to reach Tafa proved futile as his mobile phone rang unanswered. Contacted for comment, BDP chairperson, Guma Moyo said that he could not discuss issues involving an employer and employee in the media.