The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this week stated that the manner in which High Court Judges are appointed leaves a lot to be desired.
In particular, the committee was concerned that the continued disregard of the recommendations on judges’ appointments by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) may dilute the independence of the courts.
The Committee held that public confidence as well as impartiality with regards to courts is paramount. “Courts should be seen to be impartial and independent,” a member of the Committee Member of Parliament (MP) for Selibe Phikwe East, Dithapelo Keorapetse pointed out.
According to Keorapetse, a lot needs to be done for the courts to be seen to be independent; he said that the president should be bound to take JSC recommendations. “We want JSC as an appointing authority to the president,” he asserted.
However, when appearing before the committee this week the Industrial Court Registrar, Dr. Patrick Makgabenyane highlighted that the president is not bound to take JSC recommendations.
He said, like the High Court, Industrial Court Judges are also appointed by the president with the ‘help’ of JSC but the ultimate prerogative lies with him (president).WeekendPost gathers that Judicial appointments, although made by the President, can only be made on the recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission, except the appointment of the Chief Justice and the President of the Court of Appeal.
Recently president Khama rejected a recommendation from JSC to appoint Omphemetse Motumise as a High Court Judge and instead engaged on Acting basis, the services of Zein Kebonang, who is a twin brother to a known ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) activist who is also Minister of Trade and Industry, Sadique Kebonang.
Khama’s rejection of Motumise caused uproar in the legal fraternity and generated debates in the national discourse which in turn triggered the Law Society of Botswana to seek redress at the High court with regard to presidential powers in appointing judges.
According to the constitution of Botswana, Judicial Service Commission consist of the Chief Justice who shall be Chairman; President of the Court of Appeal (not being the Chief Justice or the most; Senior Justice of the Court of Appeal); Attorney-General; the Chairman of the Public Service Commission; a member of the Law Society nominated by the Law Society; and a person of integrity and experience not being a legal practitioner appointed by the President.
Government has maintained that the courts are independent, and to further reinforce their independence and to ensure that it is insulated from interference from the other arms, the Constitution creates the Judicial Service Commission. The JSC’s responsibility is the assessment and recommendation of officers to be appointed for Judicial posts.
The LSB matter before courts will reveal to what extent the president has powers pertaining to acceptance or rejection of recommendations from the JSC.
Although the Judiciary is supposed to be independent from other arms of government; that is the executive and the legislature, a recent study by Afro barometer points otherwise. The study which was released in March this year indicates that 60% of Batswana have lost trust in the judiciary.
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.