The High court has clarified confusion surrounding the role and rights of the country’s President in regards to the appointment of the Judges vis-a-vis that of the Judiciary Service Commission.
In a case in which the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) was challenging President Seretse Khama Ian Khama for refusing to appoint a local attorney, Omphemetse Motumise, a judge of the High Court, Justice Walia ruled that the President was not wrong.
Walia said the President was right in further not disclosing the reasons for the refusal as the details had the potential to damage Motumise’s reputation.
“In so far as the decision may have been based on adverse information to the person of the applicant, it was, in my view, benevolent of the President to not make a disclosure in public, lest the applicant suffer damage to his reputation. In my view the President has committed no reviewable wrong in making the decision. The argument on irrational is therefore without merit,” Walia pointed out.
He was responding to the LSB’s application that in refusing to appoint Motumise, Khama acted irrationally and unlawfully as he did not even give reasons for the refusal.
Motumise was recommended for appointment by the Judicial Service Commission but Khama rejected him and subsequently appoint Zein Kebonang as an acting Judge.
Kebonang is a twin brother of Sadique Kebonang, who sits in Khama’s cabinet.
Walia concluded that although the JSC recommend names for appointment, the power to appoint Judge vests in the President.
“He shall be the appointing authority but in the exercise of his powers as such, he may not appoint a person not recommended by the JSC,” Walia explained and added that the JSC plays an advisory role in as far as the appointment of Judges is concerned because “having made a recommendation, it falls out of the picture altogether. How then can it ever be regarded as the appointing authority?
When the case was brought before court, the argument was whether or not the President’s decision was reviewable. The LSB and Motumise argued that the decision of the President is reviewable while the Attorney General attorneys argued that it is not.
However, Walia clarified that, the President derives his executive powers from section 47 of the Constitution. The said section vests the powers of the country on the state President and empowers the President to take or reject advice from anyone.
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.