President Lt Gen Ian Khama has rejected an appeal from his trusted and loyal lawyer,Parks Tafa of Collins Newman and Co to appoint Omphemetse Motumise the the vacant position of high court judge.
The President, it has come to light has refused to endorse the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commision (JSC) to appoint senior attorney, Motumise on undisclosed reasons.
When he recommended Motumise, the president’s loyal and trusted legal advisor, Tafa said “ I first met Motumise in the late 1980’s when we both studied Law at the University of Botswana and when he completed his degree he joined the University as a staff development Fellow and Director of the Legal Aid Clinic.”
“Since we both joined private practice,we have interacted as professional colleagues.As a practitioner,Mr Motumise has exhibited thoroughness,intellect,knowldge of the law and superior analytical skills in his work,” posits Tafa in his recommendation letter.
Tafa continues that Motumise ‘particularly distinguished himself when he was Chairman of the Law Society of Botswana,handling its affairs with exemplary dedication and uniting it behind a vision defined by intergrity,commitment to ethics,high professional standards and the welfare of practitioners.”
Tafa further prayed for Motumise ‘s appointment saying while at LSB “he treated attorneyes with respect and evenhandedness.”
He further posits that Motumise ‘s humility and unassuming disposition have earned him wide respect within the legal fraternity. “I believe Motumise is a wirthy candidate who would add value to our Adminisatration of justice,” he said. Weekendpost efforts to hear from the President following a series of attacks on his person and intergrity were futile this week.
The President, known to throw in jabs in informal and often wrong platforms about serious issues has not said anything about the matter despite various attacks from stakeholders. The issue has taken so many different twists and turns since it was first reported.
“We have looked into and discussed your request and we regret to inform you that the President will not comment on the issue. The president does not comment on public domain issues and those before the courts,” Gobe Pitso, the Press Secretary to the President told this publication.
The Presidency, which has been using the ‘news rebuttal’ communication style through government administered social media page, ‘BW Government’ has not said anything to date on the matter.
The page has in the past been used among others ,to counter presidential character assasination reports and project the government’s position on public interest matters, particularly on ‘matters of grave concern and importance’.
It is not clear on whose advise Khama was acting on.The matter however has not yet gone to court, LSB has only instituted a statutory notice to sue on the matter. The president is known to vent his views and respond to critics in Kgotla meetings and other informal and welcoming platforms.
“Peharps the anger of the stakeholders may have unsettled the President hence his silence on the matter. But generally our constitution doesn’t compel the President to account on his refusal to act on the recommendations of any body,” said an observer in the legal fraternity.
Weekendpost approached the main character of the story, attorney Motumise to hear his side of the story and the rejected legal brain, like Khama, was not willing to discuss the issue saying he could, if he chose to speak, but it could be later.
The LSB on Wednesday called members of the press to update them on the matter.Their tone had not changed as they were still fuming accusing Khama of acting unconstitutionally and undemocratically.Efforts to unearth Khama ‘s reservations about Motumise’s appointment are still hitting a snag as some hints are incredible while some do not pass the common sense test,atleast to a reasonable man.
Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.
Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”
Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”
The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.
“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.
Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.
Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.
Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.
Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”
In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”
Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.
“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.
Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.
Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.
He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”
Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.
“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.
One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.
A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.
Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.
A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.”
Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.