Four Judges of the Lobatse High Court have been suspended from the bench pending determination for misconduct by a tribunal which has been set up by the Republic’s President, Ian Khama Seretse Khama following allegations that the four judges undermined the Chief Justice, Maruping Dibotelo.
President Khama yesterday suspended Justice Key Dingake, Justice Modiri Letsididi, Justice Mercy Garekwe and Justice Ranier Busang for undermining the Chief Justice and bringing the judiciary into disrepute.
Khama suspended the quartet for challenging Justice Dibotelo's move to report them to the Police for receiving housing allowances while staying in official residences.
The four judges have since attacked the Chief Justice, saying his actions are highly questionable and amount to harassment and witch-hunting. They have threatened to take legal action against him for defamation.
The latest development come just a few days after the chief Justice Dibotelo reported the four judges to the police for receiving money which was wrongfully paid to them.
The judges are said to have received a combined total of around P800 000 which was paid to them even though they were accommodated in official residences. Judges are provided with free furnished residential accommodation allowance of about P6, 545.45 per month where there is no official residence provided. The allowance is paid only to those without such priviledges.
However the four who are said to have admitted to have received the monies have explained that they were not aware that the allowance were paid to them and had promised to pay it back.
Nonetheless, after Dibotelo reported them to the Police, they threatened to impeach him, an action which was viewed as undermining the chief justice. The four, together with eight other judges are said to have penned a strong worded letter to the chief justice and informed him of their intention to sue him.
This was not withstanding the fact that the Judicial Service Commission as a whole had owned up to Dibotelo’s actions. The JSC Secretary, Motlhabi had explained that, “the decision to refer the issue of wrongful payment and receipt of housing allowance for an independent investigation, was that of the Judicial Service Commission as a whole, taken unanimously in good faith after a lengthy and searching debate. It was not, as suggested, a decision taken by the Chief Justice alone.”
Motlhabi had also noted that, “the JSC is charged with protecting the integrity of the Judiciary and of the Administration of Justice. In terms of the internal Audit Report the alleged payments concerned total in excess of P800, 000, and this was considered to be a matter that could not be adequately resolved internally.”
It is an open secret that President Khama would disqualify a Judge on the basis of integrity and public perceptions. In court papers filed on a different matter before the Gaborone High Court, Khama has indicated that, “First in appointing judges, I take into account a broad range of material considerations, including matters of national security, the socio-political situation in Botswana, public perception of the relevant candidate and the judiciary and questions of policy. All of these involve information to which the JSC does not necessarily have access and which the JSC would, in the normal function of its functions, not be properly equipped or mandated to evaluate.”
The country’s judges are appointed by the President at the recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission. It is the President who also has the power to dismiss judges from office.
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.
Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.
The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.
According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.
Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead. According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.
“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.
The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.
Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.
Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty. “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.