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Tshekedi activated judges, Khama ceasefire

Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama is said to be the long time architecture of a reconciliation reached this week between President Lt. Gen. Ian Khama and the four suspended Judges of the High Court.

It is understood that Tshekedi was doing it out of interest for the legacy of his brother, President Khama. President Khama and the suspended judges being Justices Justice Key Dingake, Justice Modiri Letsididi, Justice Mercy Garekwe and Justice Ranier Busang reached an out of court settlement agreement after heated long negotiations bridled with pride, arrogance and principle.


Some of the conditions of the agreement include withdrawing the noxious letter they wrote to Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo in which they called him to resign citing that he is unfit for office, and they later said it was never the intention to undermine the authority and duly apologized. They also withdrew the petition that they have signed dated 17th August 2015 addressed to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) together with the letter of the 12th of August 2015, with serious allegations to the Chief Justice, which was copied to all other judges.


They also agreed to repay the outstanding housing allowances and other legal costs of the Government of Botswana, as taxed or agreed, in litigation under MAHGB-000783-15, all previous costs orders, as well as costs in the review application currently pending in the High Court and not to further proceed with it in future.


“In the interests of our country and the judiciary, I am desirous of resolving this matter that has been running for too long. To that extent I am happy to accept unequivocally all the conditions contained therein,” Justice Key Dingake is said to have written to Khama. In the settlement President Khama also said he shall lift their suspension from duty and recall the tribunal which he has set up. He added that The CJ Dibotelo will direct them (suspended four judges) when to report to work.


It is understood that Tshekedi, was later joined by the Minister of Defense, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi, both of who are said to have been instrumental in bringing Khama and the suspended Judges together. Kgathi is related to Key Dingake, a presumed leader of the suspended judges who was said to be the main target of the suspensions. Speaking to this publication on Thursday, Kgathi said he welcomes the move insisting that it’s for the good of the judiciary.


“It’s a very progressive move in the sense that for the judges to have done what they have done in the interest of the judiciary and smoked the peace pipe with the president and let bygones be bygones – is a sense of patriotism on their part,” Kgathi pointed out. The Defense, Justice and Security Minister maintained that after long 2 years, the settlement is a healthy situation for the judiciary and is commendable.


“I am impressed by the willingness of both President Khama and the suspended four to forgive and forget. Both are merciful and they are a true example of eldership,” Kgathi said. When asked if the police criminal investigations against the four judges will be dropped, he said it is obvious since the president has recalled the tribunal investigating them and re-instated them.  Law Society on the controversial Khama, Judges agreement


For its part, Law Society of Botswana asserted that they believe that the four (4) Judges have, given the immense moral support they received, let down the legal fraternity, the Judiciary and the nation at large. “They have especially let down and compromised the three Judges who to date have refused to apologise for signing the Petition by the four (4) Judges.” The Society believes that the credibility of the Judiciary has no doubt suffered immensely and will take time and men and women of character, maturity and courage to heal.


“There will always be suspicion as to why there was this sudden change in approach by the Judges to apologise after they had withstood pressure to do so for about two (2) years. There will be a perception out there that the four (4) Judges are now beholden to the President and that their independence from the Executive is compromised. That is a natural consequence of their actions.”


It is however also important to note that, Law Society insisted that the whole matter raises some very critical Constitutional issues; can the President lawfully make a prima facie determination that the Judges are not fit and proper, establish a Tribunal to consider such a determination and on his own again revoke the decision to establish the Tribunal based solely on an apology to him and the Chief Justice.


“It emerged there from that the four (4) suspended Judges had apologised to His Excellency the President and the Chief Justice (CJ). It was reported that they further withdrew the letter containing their concerns on the leadership of the CJ and subsequent Petition to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). Whilst it may be possible that the Judges’ meeting with the President to discuss settlement was on invitation and not on the Judges’ own volition, what is however important is that there is truth in the Government’s statement that they have apologised,” Law Society pointed out.


The Society said they are surprised by this action since the Judges have repeatedly stated that they committed no wrong in bringing their concerns on the leadership of the CJ to the JSC. They continued to highlight that it cannot be an excuse that the apology was justified since the case was patently being manipulated against them and that the costs associated with this were heavy.


They maintained in their statement that therefore they are disappointed by the settlement agreement between Khama and the 4 suspended judges particularly the conditions thereof. “Law Society of Botswana has noted the events of the 28th March 2017 with disbelief, disappointment and a deep sense of foreboding,” they said.


They reminisced that although the Chairman of the Law Society in his address at the Ceremony of the Opening of the Legal Year encouraged all parties to the dispute relating to the four (4) suspended Judges to smoke the peace pipe and amicably resolve the matter he said they were prior excited but were disappointed by such details of the settlement.


He stated then that this was necessary for the good of the integrity and credibility of the Judiciary and ultimately for Botswana. He poignantly pointed out that if that were to happen, there would be no losers and the undeniable winner would be the Judiciary, litigants and Botswana.


 “The Judges knew, or at best ought to have known, that the case was going to be long, fraught with pitfalls and one of attrition. Their plan therefore would have anticipated this.” According to the law Society, to even suggest that the public has some blame for the apology by not assisting with funding as it seems to be suggested is unacceptable. “How was the public to know that funds were required? They asked while also wondering why the public was not to think all was well given the moral public support given by the public, civil society, business and International Organisations.”


The announcement that settlement had been reached was initially received with excitement, the Society said while adding that for a moment thought that the parties had displayed the strength of character and maturity that it had recommended. But as the saying goes, they stated that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. In no time the Government published a detailed account of the settlement process and the details of such settlement were disappointing to say the least.

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

22nd November 2021
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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.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
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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.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

22nd November 2021
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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.

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