The High Court has declared that the Constitution does not require show of hands when electing Speaker, and Deputy Speaker and endorsement of Vice President. The judges found that the National Assembly has been delegated powers to regulate its own procedures by the Constitution. Secret ballot is hallmark of democracy because it gives effect to freedom of expression. Judge Leburu dismissed the application with costs.
The High Court in Gaborone was filled to capacity on Thursday when the matter was heard before three judges. Multitudes came to listen to the legal proceedings of this constitutional matter, in which the Attorney General had instituted the legal proceedings to determine the constitutionality of the National Assembly standing orders relating to the election of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Endorsement of the Vice President.
The Attorney General (AG) had taken three political parties, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to court to set aside standing orders regulating the election of the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Deputy Speaker and endorsement of the Vice President. Each party decided to rope in its own legal representatives.
Parks Tafa appeared for ruling BDP, Dick Bayford and Mboki Chilisa represented the UDC while Leburu and Martin Dingake appeared for the BCP. Tafa of Collins and Newman who represented the BDP argued that the standing orders were unconstitutional. Despite his client being cited as a respondent, Tafa supported the Attorney General’s application. He argued that standing orders allowing for a secret ballot should be set aside. The AG advocated for the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker to be done by show of hand.
Dick Bayford for the UDC and attorney Leburu for the BCP argued that the application by the AG should be dismissed because voting by secret ballot promotes democracy and freedom of expression. They argued that the secret ballot safeguards against intimidation and victimisation.
WHAT THEY SAID The leader of the UDC, Duma Boko said the decision of the High Court was victory for democracy. He called on the Attorney General to resign from her position because going forward she could not be trusted.
The President of the BCP, Dumelang Saleshando was equally pleased with the judgement. He said it was a great day for democracy because the judiciary was at fore to resolve differences between the Parliament and the Executive. He thanked lawyers who represented the opposition parties in court for the efforts to preserve the country’s democracy. “It is not the Attorney General who has lost ,it is Khama, the attorney General is just a tool,” he charged.
For her part, Margaret Nasha said for the past 16 days she has been a prisoner of conscience. She indicated that she could not believe that the strange developments happening before her eyes where happening in her country of birth.
“I wish to make it known that I refused to withdraw or set aside the standing orders as demanded by the Attorney General before the matter was brought before the courts,” she said.
Nasha said she informed the Attorney General that she did not have any powers of attorney to undo or change resolutions of Parliament. She said no Speaker has those powers even in the most rogue of states.
No Speaker has power to change resolution of parliament without its consent, Nasha observed. The former legislator has been at the head to ensure that she liberates Botswana Parliament following numerous studies that had established that the Botswana Parliament was not independent.
PARLIAMENT TO CONVENE Following the conclusion of this case Parliament will convene to elect the Speaker and deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and also endorse the Vice President. It remains to be seen if Members of Parliament will appreciate Nasha’s efforts to preserve the independence of Parliament by retaining her Speaker.
It is evident that BDP Members of Parliament will be bound by caucus decisions unless they go against the norm of the party and vote according to their conscience. Nasha will slug it out against Gladys Kokorwe who is the preferred candidate in the BDP hierarchy. Meanwhile the opposition has made it clear it will root for Nasha with Abram Kesupile as her deputy.
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.