Sunday, September 24, 2023

Advocate Boko was a judge’s favourite jurisprudence lecturer at UB

It is unclear why the “science of law” would be named after a woman named Prudence because only men practised law in Ancient Rome. That, however, is the case.

In the obverse, another one of recent High Court cases that spotlighted this area of law was between a self-represented Goemeone Bopadile and the government and mentions the name of an A-list lawyer-turned-politician.

“This case reminds me of my freshman days at the University of Botswana,” said Justice Dr. Zein Kebonang when introducing his judgement on the case. “My then favourite jurisprudence law lecturer, Duma Boko, taught me that a fair judicial process was the only thing that a judge could judicially conduct and that all litigants, whether self or legally represented, must be allowed equal participation and access to the courts.”

The relationship between the two men can be carbon-dated to the past century and their careers have followed an almost similar trajectory. On competing his LLB at UB, Boko joined the Law Department as a staff development fellow (SDF), would later obtain an LLM at Harvard University in the United States and return to UB to teach law. Among the parade of students who darkened the doorway of his jurisprudence lecture-room was a fresh-faced freshman called Kebonang. The latter would also become an SDF, obtain an LLM from Harvard and at 30, become the youngest PhD in the Department’s history after graduating from an Australian university. On account of a dollar-pula exchange rate that doesn’t favour Botswana, the Department no longer sends its SDFs to Ivy League universities.

Student and lecturer have maintained contact over the years and some five years ago, bonded over the prudence thing when the same court considered the lawfulness of civil imprisonment. Boko had come onboard as a “friend of the court” – rest assured there has never been an enemy of the court. During the first hearing, Kebonang implored parties to the matter to “test the jurisprudence” of this particular issue.  Waxing prudential and a couple other things, Boko, who is now the Leader of the Opposition in parliament, said that as a constitutional lawyer, he was equal to the task assigned him. In a hypothetical scenario of a future in which Boko becomes president and Kebonang is Chief Justice, the latter would administer the oath of office before the former unleashes a magniloquent cascade of Utopian promise in classic English bejewelled with an archipelago of legal Latin.


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