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.
Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms. “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.
“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.
“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.
“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”
Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner. He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.
Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.
Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.
The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).
“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.
“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”
Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.
From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.
“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.
“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”
In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.
TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.
“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”
Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.
“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”
Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.
Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.
According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.
“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.
According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).
“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.
“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”
The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.
“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”
Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.
The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.
This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.