LSB demands 1966 minutes to prove Khama wrong
The Law society of Botswana (LSB) wants the complete minutes of the 1966 London Bechuanaland Constitutional Conference to be made available to it ahead of the big High court debate on whether or not the State President has constitutional right to refuse to appoint a Judge following recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
As of this week, the LSB was preparing to file an interlocutory application seeking the said minutes son as to support its argument in a matter in which it is suing the President Ian Khama Seretse Khama for refusing to appoint a local attorney, Omphemetse Motumise as the Judge of the High court. Khama refused to appoint Motumise despite JSC having highly recommended his name for appointment. Motumise is also an applicant in the matter.
The crux of the matter is that since the Attorney General insists that the President has the power to refuse the JSC recommendation and the LSB holds a different view point, then the answer should be provided by the framers of the constitution.
The framers of the constitution held an independence Conference in London in 1966 which documented the discussions leading to the constitution of Botswana which is being interpreted before court today.
An abstract of the minutes which were referred to as a contention point by the LSB in the current case repeats what the constitution dictates, that the President shall only appoint Judges of the High court at the advice of the JSC.
“Mr. de Winton said that in the draft the Judicial Service commission themselves appointed the puisne judges. It was usual for the President to be formally responsible. The conference agreed that puisne judges should be formally appointed by the President, acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission,” the minutes were quoted in part.
Now the LSB wants the complete minutes so as to make their case against President Khama and the JSC. The JSC is also sued because it went on to recommend a different name after Khama refused to appoint Motumise and it is viewed to be “singing from the hymn book,” with the President.
The LSB maintains that it is clear that the President has no right to refuse an appointment recommendation from the JSC.
“In light of the above minutes and the clear and unambiguous wording of the phrase, “acting in accordance with the advice of the judicial service Commission,” it is not surprising that the report of the Presidential Committee on the Judiciary took the view that section 96(2) is clear, unambiguous and adequate. And that there was thus no need to address the concern raised that the section might be interpreted in the future in a manner which allowed the President to refuse the advice of the JSC,” maintains the LSB.
Although the society agrees that there are instance where the President has exclusive powers to appoint for example the Chief Justice and the Judge President, it argues that if the framers of the constitution intended for the President to be the sole repository of power, it would have done the same for other judges of the High court.
The society’s contention is that, there are certain circumstances such as the appointment of High Court Judges where the President has no discretion at all, in that the President is advised and shall act on that advice.
But the bone of contention between Khama and the society is the interpretation of the words “advise,” as the word in its nature is viewed as not so binding.
The matter is yet to be debated before a panel of three Judges, Lakvinder Walia, Abednego Tafa and Phadi Solomon at the Gaborone High court.
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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup
With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.
Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.
The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.
Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.
“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.
Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.
Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.
For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.
Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS
The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.
When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.
Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.
She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.
During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.
Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017
Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting
The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.
According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd, the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.
However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.
“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.
While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.
“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.
The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.