Former president Festus Mogae says he respected Judicial Service Commission
Weeks after the President, Lt Gen Ian Khama threw the legal fraternity into disarray by refusing to act on the recommendation of the Judical Service Commision (JSC) to appoint Attorney Omphemetse Motumise to the position of judge, his predecessor, Festus Mogae has painted the JSC as a reliable body with high integrity. Mogae says he always respected and endorsed their advice on judges appointment.
Responding to Weekendpost, following the tussle between President Lt Gen Ian Khama and the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) over Khama’s refusal to act on the recommendations of the JSC to appoint Motumise to the vacant position of judge, Mogae said, “I have always respected the recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission.To me they were a reliable body with high integrity.”
The former president, has been largely blamed by former National Speaker and ruling party veteran, Margaret Nasha for the ascendency of Khama into the presidency in her rubble rouser Book, ‘Madam Speaker, Sir!’
Mogae would obviously not want to comment on the current debacle as he has said it several times that he doesn’t want to appear to be ruling from the grave.
In spite of these remarks, it is important and somehow coincidental to undeline the fact that Mogae had a fair share of his squables with the legal fraternity and faced critical antagonism and hostility from the ‘focal man’ himself- Motumise in his days as the LSB Chairperson.
In his ‘Diamond ,Dispossession and Democracy In Botswana’,the deported political sciece academic Professor Kenneth Good,a known fierce critic of Mogae paints a picture that suggests that Mogae was not different either as the judiciary was no different under him.
Good said under Mogae there were fears that the essential boudaries between the executive and the judiciary were being eroded.Motumise noted too growing disquite in the legal circles that certain key positions were being reserved for prefered people.
“He contended in early 2005 that the process of appointing the Judicial Service Commission members was shrouded in secrecy,” said Good who continued that Motumise had said that the legal profession never knew when there was a vacancy on the bench,what steps were being taken to fill the vacancy and what the desired qualifications were.
The widely celebrated author and academic emphasised that it was also worth noting that the late Chief Justice, Julius Nganunu was a known close friend of and a business partner of Mogae.He further blamed Mogae for the Attorney General and Department of Public Prosecution power struggles confusion.
As if that was not enough,Good said Mogae appointed Sydney Pilane his legal advisor without folowing ‘normal prcedure and without clarifying future relations with the then Attorney General,Phandu Skelemani.
Skelemani,Good states,said he did not know Pilane’s job description and was not aware that he had to work closely with him.
Mogae later deported Good accusing him of corrupting the minds of the nationals and colluding with Survival International to turnish the image of the country and its diamonds which are the cornerstone of the country’s economy.
Meanwhile the LSB’s 30 days statutory notice to sue on Khama’s refusal to act on JSC recommendations elapses today (Saturday).
LSB Executive Secretary Tebogo P. Moipolai told Weekendpost this week said that they are preparing court papers and will file as per to the notice.
“In its last brief on 25th March LSB reported a request had been made to the Attorney General to waive the 30-day Statutory Notice required in terms of the State Proceedings Act. The request was declined and LSB has had to wait for the notice to expire. The notice period expires on the 25th April and thereafter court papers that are currently being prepared will be filed at court,” Moipolai said in a response to this publication.
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.
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.
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.