Senior Assistant Registrar and Master of the High Court Chipo Gaobatwe has last week ordered the four judges who were previously suspended from their offices to pay P340 000 for costs.
The four judges who have since resumed their duties after close to three years of suspension are; Key Dingake, Seabelo Letsididi, Mercy Garekwe and Ranier Busang. The judges were applicants in a case against former President Lt. Ian Khama, the Judicial Service Commission, former Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo and the Attorney General. However, Justice Dingake has since joined The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the Pacific North Australia on a three year term.
Former President Khama had suspended them for receiving housing allowances that they were not entitled to amounting to close to P1m cumulative. The Judges were also alleged to have undermined the authority of the Chief Justice and acted in a manner that was damaging to the Judiciary by addressing his conduct against them, and for having signed a petition addressed to the Judicial Service Commission seeking former Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo’s impeachment. It was then that the judges approached the court challenging their suspension.
But, later, after a long battle before the courts, the judges apologised to both President Khama and Dibotelo. Subsequently, investigating tribunal which was established to investigate the four judges was dissolved and the police case which was opened against them was set aside.
The issue then, that was before Registrar Gaobatwe was to determine whether he should in terms of High Court orders either; tax the respondents’ bill costs according to the hourly rate of the monthly salary of the government attorney who dealt with the action; or tax the bill in the same manner they ordinarily would in actions involving private parties.
The Registrar noted that, “in determining the issues raised, I must be cognisant of the extent of my discretion which should be exercised judiciously, bearing in mind the guiding principle provided for under Order 73 rule 3 that I, ‘should afford the party who has been awarded an order for costs a full indemnity of all costs reasonably incurred by him.”
The Registrar also noted that Section 8 of the State Proceedings Act 10:01 entitles the Attorney General to recover costs in the same manner as in actions between private parties. “Section 8 enjoins me to recognize that the Attorney General employs skill commensurate to that of a private attorney and that the costs involved extend beyond simply a monthly salary,” said the Registrar.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.