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MISA demands public hearing for Judges

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Botswana wants President Lt. Gen. Ian Khama and the Tribunal tasked with investigating the four suspended Judges to accede to media houses’ request to allow reporters to sit in and report on proceedings of the Tribunal.

Khama has appointed a three-man tribunal which consists of Justice Craig Howie who shall be its Chairperson, Justice John Foxcroft and Justice Isaac Lesetedi to investigate whether Judges Key Dingake, Mercy Garekwe, Ranier Busang and Modiri Letsidi “ought to be removed from the office of the Judge of the High Court for misbehavior.”

The Judges’ transgression relates to wrongfully and unlawfully receiving accommodation allowances in the region of 1 million while occupying government houses.

WeekendPost is in possession of a communiqué to Chairperson of the Tribunal with Care On to one Anna Mphetlhe, a copy of which has been passed on to President Khama. In the letter MISA asserts that the right of the public to know is crucial and they “trust that the Tribunal shall accede to the media houses’ valid request. The Tribunal, being a body constituted under the constitution, ought to give effect to this fundamental freedom. There would be no public interest served in refusing the interest.”

According to MISA, the right of the public to know cannot be dispensed with the proceedings against the Judges of the High Court who wield immense constitutional, statutory and common law powers over citizens of Botswana. “Moreover, a perusal of the mandate given by the President to the Tribunal shows that at issue is freedom of expression and its limits,” MISA Chairperson Modise Mphanyane pointed out on the letter to the Tribunal and Khama.

MISA Botswana is a registered trust whose main objectives are: to promote and defend press freedom; to take appropriate steps where such freedoms are violated; and to seek to remove obstacles and impediments to the free flow of information.

“It therefore goes without saying that MISA Botswana is a champion of the freedom of expression which is enshrined in section 12 of the constitution of Botswana. This freedom includes ‘freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to communicate ideas and information without hindrance,” Maphanyane posits.

He maintained that the question before the Tribunal is the extent to which Judges of the High Court can express themselves if they are aggrieved by the Chief Justice’s acts or omissions. So, it is the freedom contained in section 12 of the constitution, which MISA Botswana champions, he insisted.

In the President’s Tribunal is Justice Howie who is a former President of the South African Supreme Court of Appeal, and member of the Botswana Court of Appeal, Justice Foxcroft who is a former Judge of the Cape Supreme Court, and member of the Botswana Court of Appeal and lastly Justice Lesetedi, a former High Court Judge and member of the Botswana Court of Appeal.  

Attorneys representing the suspended Judges who are subjected to the Tribunal investigation, Chibanda Makgalemele and Company however had requested the president to remove the three Judges and replace them with three foreign Judges with no known links to the Botswana judiciary, a request the president ignored.

The law firm states that the Tribunal members may be having “relationships with the Judges under investigation, the Chief Justice and Judicial Service Commission (JSC) (which are also complainants in this case) and, indeed, the President.” As a result, they say the Tribunal does not have the appearance of impartiality and independence that this case demands.

Meanwhile there are reports that Khama may have suspended the Tribunal pending the impending court case where the four suspended Judges are suing Khama and Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo for their suspension. The matter is before Justice Tebogo Tau.

The quartet wants an urgent order declaring the president’s decisions to appoint a Tribunal and to suspend the Judges pending the outcome of the Tribunal’s investigation as unconstitutional and invalid. The case will be heard on Monday at Lobatse High Court.

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6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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