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.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.