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BOPEU takes Khama to court


Botswana Public Employees’ Union (BOPEU) is preparing to drag President Lt Gen Ian Khama before court in a bid to compel him to set up a tribunal to investigate the fitness of both Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo and Judge Dr Kholisani Solo to continue holding office.

 
At the beginning of this week BOPEU leadership sent an ultimatum to Chief Justice and Justice Dr Kholisani Solo to resign from the judiciary. “Dibotelo has no leadership skills that are necessary to run and manage the country’s judiciary and we call upon him to take the responsibility for the loss of confidence in the judiciary by tendering his resignation,” said Andrew Motsamai, BOPEU president.


BOEPU wants Dibotelo to take with him Justice Dr Solo who recently, amid the judiciary crisis scandal pledged his allegiance to the President of the Republic of Botswana as opposed to the country’s constitution.


The union said on Monday that if the duo does not resign by the end of this week, it with compel the president, if need be, through court action, to invoke Section 97 of the constitution and set up a tribunal to enquire into his fitness to continue holding office.


Section 97 of Botswana constitution states that a judge of the High Court may be removed from office only for inability to perform the functions of his or her office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or from any other cause) or for misbehaviour, and shall not be so removed except in accordance with the provisions of this section.


The constitution further states that if the President considers that the question of removing a judge of the High Court under this section (97) ought to be investigated then- (a) he or she shall appoint a tribunal which shall consist of a Chairman and not less than two other members, who hold or have held high judicial office; (b) the tribunal shall enquire into the matter and report on the facts thereof to the President and advise the President whether the judge ought to be removed from office under this section for inability as aforesaid or for misbehaviour.


The duo had not tendered resignations by the end of this week pushing the union to take the court route. BOPEU President said the state in which the judiciary find itself in is too grave to be ignored. “We believe we cannot just sit and watch as these developments unfold,” Motsamai stated.


Motsamai argued that when democracy is under siege, trade unions will suffer from the shrinking democratic and human right space, for the judiciary to properly function, the requirements rely on the integrity and the confidence that the public has on it, he said.


Ever since 2008, unions and government have spend more time in the courts than ever before as the two parties rarely reach a common ground on when differences emerge. BOPEU therefore knows that with scales of justice tilting towards the executive as the recent development imply, workers maybe be hard done by the situation.


The judiciary first came under spot light when Dibotelo accused judges of forum shopping, the remarks which did not go well with his colleagues who were of the view that it undermined the courts as it had the possibility of eroding trust of the citizens on the judiciary.


BOPEU has also contended that the current crisis, which they attribute to poor leadership and bad governance on the part of the chief justice, has a very damaging effect on the credibility and functionality of the judiciary now and in the long run.


In a strange turn of events, BOPEU president spoke highly of Johnson Motshwarakgole’s National Amalgamated Local, Central Government Workers and Parastatal Workers Union (NALCGWPWU) also known as Manual Workers Union for taking up the challenge against appointment of Court of Appeal Judges before the High Court.


“They have provided intellectual leadership over a matter of a great national importance. We entirely associate ourselves with their legal contentions and their concerns about the lack of security of tenure of the Court of Appeal Judges.”


The two, Motsamai and Motshwarakgole have not enjoyed the best of relations lately, and have seen the relationship between BOFEPUSU and one of its main affiliates deteriorating.

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

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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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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

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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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