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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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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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