Khama’s court case clashes with State of nation address
A full panel of the High Court comprising Justices Walia, Tafa, and Solomon will hear arguments in a case where the Law Society of Botswana (“the LSB”) and Attorney Omphemetse Motumise are challenging the decision of President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama to reject the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission to appoint Motumise as a judge of the High Court.
The hearing will be at the Gaborone High Court on Monday, 9 November 2015 at 9.30 am. Procedurally President Khama could be expected to appear in court Monday morning before his state of the nation address in Parliament later in the afternoon to answer for a case in which he is being accused of interfering with the Judiciary.
The applicants in the matter, the LSB and Motumise, contend that the President’s decision to refuse to appoint Motumise is unconstitutional and unlawful and have approached the High Court to review the said decision and set it aside.
The Law Society’s legal team comprises of Advocate Wim Trengove SC instructed by Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys. Technical Support will also be offered by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC). The Attorney General has instructed Advocate Mohammad Albertus SC and Advocate Grant Quixley to argue on President Khama’s behalf.
President Khama is being accused of violating the country’s constitution by refusing to appoint a local attorney, Motumise as a Judge of the High court even though he was recommended by the Judicial Service Commission for appointment.
Khama has already stated through filed papers that his decision was final and is not subject to review by the court as he has the “power,” to decline to appoint a candidate who has been recommended by the JSC.
His lawyers are expected to address this point on Monday.
“I am advised, for reasons that will be more fully addressed at the hearing of this matter that my aforesaid decision is not susceptible to review by this honourable court. Alternatively, should this court find that my said decision is indeed reviewable, that I have a discretion under section 96 (2) of the Constitution to decline to appoint candidates recommended for appointment by the JSC as judges of the High Court,” Khama had filed his contention.
In as far as the discretion reposed in him is concerned Khama says he exercised it duly, properly and lawfully.
“I have further been advised that the submissions advanced in the JSC’s affidavit concerning the interfacing between my powers and duties and those of the JSC under section 92 (2) of the constitution and the reviewability of my decision not to appoint the Second Applicant as a Judge of the High Court are sound and legally correct for reasons that would be more fully argued at the hearing of this matter,” the President further stated.
It remains to be seen whether indeed the President would not divulge his “valid reasons” to court as to why he rejected Motumise as he had vowed.
The case is between President Khama, The JSC, Motumise and the Law Society of Botswana (LSB). JSC is being sued for agreeing with Khama to recommend a different name for appointment after he rejected Motumise.
The LSB is standing with Motumise on this matter and maintains that the case does not centre on the reviewability of President Khama’s decision not to appoint Motumise as a judge of the High court but rather the interpretation of section 96 (2) of the constitution which the President derived his powers from.
In addition to the order reviewing and setting aside of the President’s decision not to appoint Motumise, the duo seek further declaratory relief in relation to Khama’s powers in terms of section 96(2) of the constitution and the conduct of the JSC in matters relating to the appointment of judges.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.