Dingake’s historical appointment unraveled
Botswana’s High Court Judge, Justice Key Dingake has made history as the first African to join The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the Pacific North Australia. His three year term is effective January, 2018.
The Supreme Court of PNG has an excellent track record. They are reputed for human rights and commercial law. Dingake is the co-chair of the African Think Tank on HIV, Health and Social Justice; President of Africa Judges Forum on HIV, HR and Law; Professor University of Cape Town and Lead Facilitator in Institution.
Dingake was in 2015 suspended by President Ian Khama over allegations of unlawful receiving of overtime allowances. But he was later with his three co-accused judges reinstated early 2017. The renowned judge was yet to officially resume his duties in the High Court of Botswana end of this month. His slot was at the time taken by Justice Tshweneyagae whose contract is ending end of this month.
In an interview, the Director of Africa Division of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Justice Arnold Tsunga, said he knows Dingake as one of the most outstanding judges from the Superior Court in Africa. Tsunga explained that, “in my work, we strive to work with judges who are leading in certain areas of justice delivery. It is in this context that I came across Justice Dingake as a judge of high professional integrity and competences in many areas of law. He is a guru in development of jurisprudence on social and economic rights with his case being cited with approval in many jurisdictions across Africa and abroad,” he said.
“He also has this unique position as an intellectual judge, a professor of law at the most prestigious university in Africa, the University of Cape Town. He is indeed a source of great inspiration to the legal profession and judiciary in Africa.” According to Justice Tsunga, the ICJ has relied on Justice Dingake as a resource person to elaborate to select audiences on principles of independence impartiality and accountability of the judiciary.
They have also worked with him to share experiences around effective Judicial Case Management given that the Botswana experience is one of the leading ones in Africa. He has also worked with the ICJ to explain to human rights activists in Africa the importance of the right to fair trial, according to the Director.
“Justice Dingake’s appointment to the judiciary of PNG comes as no surprise to us who know his competence and recognition in his craft ship by the international community. It is a loss to Africa in that one of our best brains will now be of service to the Asia Pacific Region. However, that he is of international pedigree is bone by reference to the fact that he is a judge of the Residual Court of Sierra Leone an immense privilege where he contributes to breaking the cycle of impunity in the West African country and reinforce the strong return to the rule of law in that country after a long period of conflict and impurity.”
For his part the Secretary General of Africa Judges and Jurists Forum (AJJF), attorney Martin Masiga, said he has known Dingake since 2008. They met at the Southern African Chief Justices Conference which had been organized in Kasane, Botswana. “Dingake struck me as an outstanding academic and judge during his incisive presentation on Judicial Independence and the Separation of Powers. I immediately sought him out and we have since worked together,” he said.
Attorney Masiga went on to describe Justice Dingake as innovative with an indomitable commitment to the development of Africa, which he said Justice Dingake constantly argues must be anchored on the rule of law and respect for human rights. “As the Secretary General of AJJF I can on behalf of our organization say that we are proud of Justice Dingake. His appointment to the opposition of Justice of PNG can only be good for that country. PNG will benefit from independent, intellectually critical and progressive judge whose fidelity to professionalism and commitment to human rights and the rule of law are beyond question.”
He added that AJJF wishes Justice Dingake continued success on his next assignment and are confident that he will represent the image of Botswana and Africa in a manner that makes everyone even more proud of him. One of the judges, who did not want to be quoted, said Dingake’s departure is an anti-climax in the road they are intending to build for the judiciary in Botswana. He lamented that his skills and intellectual abilities are all they need if they were to achieve a truly independent judiciary which they all desperately need.
Dingake was one of the five judges and jurists who teamed up to establish the Africa Judge’s and Jurists Forum: A network of African judges and lawyers working to capacitate governments, inter-governmental institutions, the private sector, civil society, donor agencies and others in the twin areas of the rule of law and development.
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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP
As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.
Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.
Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our countryâ€™s Southern Region. â€śThe Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,â€ť he said.
He made a special appeal to the PAP:Â â€śWhere I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, â€śmzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.â€ť Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.â€ť
Mikiya continued: â€śYes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.â€ť
According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.
As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.
The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as â€śa league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabitâ€ť.
Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.
Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing â€śpositiveâ€ť inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.
He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.
â€śAlone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, â€śOne Africa, One Voice.â€ť Mikiya concluded.