Opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has dropped a case in which they were challenging the ascendance of Mokgweetsi Masisi to the presidency.
Basically the party was citing that Masisi is not the substantive president as he was not duly elected to become president by parliament. BCP Spokesperson Dithapelo Keorapetse told WeekendPost on Thursday that they have lost confidence in the judiciary owing to handpicking of preferred judges for high magnitude cases by Chief Justice (CJ) Maruping Dibotelo. The case affects the constitution of the country.
CJ has removed Justice Michael Mothobi, who was initially allocated the case, and empanelled the bench by Justice Tebogo Tau, Justice Barnabas Nyamadzabo and Justice Tshepo Motswagole. “We have no confidence in the process of hand picking judges by the Chief Justice instead of allowing the system to do so,” Keorapetse explained to this publication on Thursday following withdrawal of the case.
In the court papers, precisely the party’s withdrawal affidavit passed to this publication, BCP Secretary General Akanyang Magana, through official party attorney Martin Dingake of Dingake Law Partners, said they withdrew because the manner in which the Administration of justice has dealt with the case is inconsistent with the minimum standards of judicial decency.
“We have resolved to withdraw the case as we do not believe that we will get justice from the process as structured by the Administration of Justice,” the party stated in the affidavit of withdrawal before the courts. The party explained that one of the empowered Judges have tendered an apology to the Chief Justice Dibotelo for a Petition which he signed with other judges in which he ‘apologised’ and expressed himself as having been influenced by ‘mob psychology’ in signing the apology.
“It is clear that the said Justice is prone to peer-pressure if he were to preside over a case in which he sits with other two (2) Justices,” the BCP stated. The party continued: “it is our respective view that this is a classic case of misuse of the law to suppress our rights and interest to due process. We were not told of the criterion that was used to impanel the judges. The Administration of Justice did not have the decency even to notify us of its decision to impanel three judges. The system of selection of the impaneled judges remains classified information, this cannot be justice.”
The party also highlights that the clandestine manner in which Justice Michael Mothobi (who initially was to preside over the case) was removed from the case and the lack of transparency in the empanelment of the judges has left the party with no doubt that there was an ulterior motive in the process of empanelment and that it was done to achieve a declared objective.
“We do not know who would have endorsed Justices Tau and Nyamadzabo, if such cover had been prepared and endorsed. We write to express our deep concern with this, and find the composition illegal and not sanctioned by law.” According to the BCP, a panel may hear and dispose of the case if the Chief Justice has determined the need to do so and that (Section 6 of the Act), the Chief Justice must record such a decision and provide a basis for it and communicate it to the parties (which did not happen).
Dingake has in his filing notice faulted the Speaker of the National Assembly Gladys Kokorwe for failing to convene parliament for the election of the president seven (7) days after Lt. Gen. Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama resigned. This came after Khama resigned in March 31, and Masisi then as per automatic succession, assumed the presidency of the country on April 1, 2018.
According to the party, currently in terms of the law, there is no president in Botswana. “I am advised by my attorneys of record which advice I verily believe to be true and correct that the office of the President is currently vacant due to the failure to implement the constitutional requirements of Section 35 of the constitution,” The BCP Secretary General Magama stated then in the party filing affidavit.
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.