Chief Justice Terence Rannowane has expressed grave concern about a huge backlog of pending criminal and civil cases particularly at Magistrates Courts, the coalface of the judiciary.
Giving a key note address at the Administration of Justice stakeholder conference in Francistown this week, Rannowane pointed out that delays in any system frustrates and erodes public confidence. In the case of the courts, Rannowane said it impacts on the ease of doing business and impedes Government endeavours of making the country a prime choice for Investors and the resultant job creation.
“Pending cases include those that are ripe for prosecution and those in which investigations are still on-going. As we all know, the duty of the courts is to try cases and not to investigate them. The courts cannot be blamed for the delays relating to pending cases which are still under investigations,” Chief Justice disclosed. Rannowane admitted that as key stakeholders, they need to have a common understanding of what constitutes the backlog.
He mentioned that the conference therefore must ensure that stakeholders take accountability for the delays at different stages of the case in the value chain. As the Judiciary, Rannowane said they have come up with short term measures to address the problem. “We initiated the appointment of acting judges to deal with some cases as diaries of substantive judges are clogged. The same dispensation will be extended to the Magistracy. We are also reviewing the efficiency of the Special Courts such as the Small Claims, Stock Theft, Traffic and Family Courts,” he explained.
According to Rannowane, the high court has been operating with fewer judges than the establishment allows, with the result that there was simply a disproportionate workload which automatically translated into backlog. He indicated that they have managed to recruit eight judges, four of whom have already started work whilst the reminder is expected to start next year adding that they expect that this positive development will help to greatly reduce the backlog.
The Chief Justice expressed optimism that increasing and enhancing physical access to court services, by for instance, establishing High Court Division in Maun will accelerate the disposal of cases due to reduced travelling and related logistics translating into more time dedicated to court sittings. He pointed out that Combined Rules Committee is also dealing with the amendment of rules to among others, usher in Court Annexed Mediation and E-filing to further improve and expedite the disposal of cases.
Rannowane told the delegates that he expects the submission of the draft rules before the end of this month. Once the rules are enacted, the judiciary will be expected to operationalize the program next year. Meanwhile, when officially opening the conference, Defence Justice and Security minister, Shaw Kgathi mentioned that Botswana is likely to be red-flagged globally by not having strong measures in place to curb money laundering and financing of terrorism.
“If we are red-flagged it will certainly affect all Government and private sector, financial transactions, systems and the economy at large,” he lamented. The minister divulged that Botswana is expected to do more with respect to effectiveness of the intervention measures such as establishing national organisational structures envisioned in the provisions of the relevant acts. According to Kgathi, Botswana is expected to put in place robust systems for controlling and monitoring the flow and outflow of money through the banking s and non-banking systems.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.
The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.
This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.
Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.