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Lawyers caution Chief Justice

The Chairman of the Law Society of Botswana, Mr Lawrence Lecha has cautioned the Chief Justice, Mr Maruping Dibotelo to avoid making statements that could be interpreted to mean that he is trying to influence the direction of a case in which they are challenging the process of appointment of judges in the country.  

Through a statement titled, “THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE’S RECENT PUBLIC STATEMENT ON THE JUDICIARY”, Lecha said: “The local media has recently reported on a speech by the Honourable Chief Justice (CJ) of Botswana, Mr. Maruping Dibotelo, at a Gala Dinner organized for Magistrates in Francistown. At the event the Honourable CJ took the opportunity to present his views on the state of the Judiciary in Botswana. The excerpts of his statement were also broadcast by some radio stations.”

Lecha further observed that: “In his widely published speech, the Honourable CJ stated, amongst other things, that the judiciary has served Batswana well over the years and as such they are comfortable with the status quo. He also questioned why then status quo should be changed when there was nothing wrong with it as evidenced by the immense trust that Batswana have for the Judiciary. He cautioned those agitating for change against simply doing so to imitate the judicial systems of other countries.”

He said it is in the public domain that the Law Society of Botswana has filed a case in which it seeks to have the decision of His Excellency the President’s refusal to appoint Attorney Mr. Omphemetse Motumise a judge of the High Court as advised by the Judicial Service Commission ( JSC) set aside.

“Primarily, the LSB’s application is for an order declaring that the President is bound to follow and implement the advice of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in line with section 96(2) of the Constitution. Furthermore, the application is for an order that the JSC interviews of candidates for appointment as judges must as a rule be open to the public and that its deliberations on these appointments be made public,” wrote Lecha.

According to the Chairman of the Law Society, the status quo is that the President has rejected the advice of the JSC to appoint certain lawyers as judges and all JSC proceedings respecting the appointment of judges is confidential.  

“Against this backdrop, some sections of the media have linked the Chief Justice’s statements to the said LSB case against the President and the JSC. We do not think that this linkage by the media is without any basis,” he wrote.

Lecha observes that the Chief Justice is the Chairperson of the JSC, the JSC being a party to these court proceedings.

“… he is also the head of the judiciary. The media’s interpretation of his statements is quite clearly an epitome of public perception of his statements. His statements may be read to be an attempt to influence the direction of the case. It is for this reason that the Honourable CJ is respectfully advised to let the rule of law take its course. It is appropriate to be reminded at this point of the age-old sub judice rule.

The LSB respectfully calls upon the Honourable Chief Justice to refrain from making any public statements which might be interpreted by a reasonable member of the public to be an attempt to influence the direction of the ongoing case against the JSC, which he chairs, and the President. We hold in high esteem the judges of the High Court who are seized of the case but we cannot ignore the importance of reasonable public perceptions as well. Public perceptions and public trust in the judiciary are also an important part of the rule of law, ” concluded Lecha.

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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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