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A zoom into Khama’s reject ‘judge’


Throw the name, Omphemetse Motumise into the air and listen to the names and comments that shall follow, ‘President,Lt Gen Ian Khama,Law Society of Botswana (LSB) and Judicial Service Commission (JSC)’ among many others. This is a man who has unwillingly and pehaps unknowingly thrown the legal fraternity into unprecendented chaos.


What began two weeks ago as only rejection by president Khama to acknowlegde a recommendation by the JSC of one Omphemetse Motumise to the posotion of High Court judge has now turned into an ugly legal brawl.


But who is this Motumise who has brought the legal fraternity to a standstill and cause the President a headache?  “I am  a 52 year old male citizen of Botswana and a legal practitioner with over 20 years of professional experince,” he said as he introduced himself to the Judicial Service Commision.


Motumise grew up in the village of Lokgwabe and attended his primary school in that small village. As a young focused lad, he has shown leadership characteristics at the genesis of his age and was a class monitor and later a prefect at Gaborone Senior Secondary School where he did his Junior certificate. This was no fluke as he proceeded to the University of Botswana where he continued with his discipline and exhibition of striking qualities. He was an SRC minister of Justice, a position he later cultivated and nursed.


Motumise contends that he is qualified to hold judicial office and meet the requirements of the post as advertised. Following a series of reports on his case much has been said about him and what he may have done or not done to warrant his rejection by the president.He is confident of his credentials though, “the combination of my academic qualifications and my professional experience makes me an ideal and a well rounded candidate for appointment,” he says.


Motumise obtained a Degree of Bachelor of Laws from the University of Botswana in 1989, with Second Class upper division, graduating top of his class. He later proceeded to obtain a Master of  Laws Degree from the University of Edinburgh, speacialising in constitutional Law, Legal Theory and Legislation.


A man of honor, Motumise has from 1996 to date been practicing in partnership with Mr. Batlhalefi Moeletsi under the name and style Moeletsi and Motumise Attorneys, a firm that has become known for its enduring stability, competence and integrity.


In case you may be wondering why the president rejected him and pehaps tempted to believe that Motumise may be a troublesome fellow, think again.


“I am a member in good standing of the Law Society of Botswana.I helped establish the society as a member of its Founding Council.Subsequently,I rose to the position of Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the Council respectively.I served the LAW Society greatly,ably articulating its issues and restored respect to the profession,” he says of himself.


Motumise however is no stranger to controversy. During his days at LSB as the chairman, Motumise was very vocal about the now Court of Appeal’s president Ian Kirby and Athaliah Molokomme’s tranfers during former president Festus Mogae’s tenure, labelling the appointments as “shrouded in secrecy”.


Motumise is not a legal dwarf who has been grounded only in Botswana, he has also held position of Treasure of the SADC Lawyers Association,a grouping of Law Societies in the SADC Region.


“I have also been deputy Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commision for ten years,often acting as Chairman of the Commission.This is a fundamental instituion charged with the constitutional mandaste of managing,organising and holding free and fair elections in Botswana,” he says.


Motumise further adds that he has aquired leadership experience and knowledge in the running of organisations, including processes such as planning, organising, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting.


He has served at Botswana Football Assocaition (BFA) as the Charman of Disciplinary Commitee and served in various committees at the local football governing body. Motumise has also produced several lawyers of this country as he has lectured at the University of Botswana  for a considerable length of time.


Khama’s lawyer, Parks Tafa expresses trust and confidence in the rejected judge.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
Kebonang

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.

JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.

This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.

“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.

This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.

“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.

UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.

In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.

This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.

Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”

Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”

UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.

Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.

“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview
UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.

The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021
boko-and-khama

President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.

While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.

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