President Ian Khama’s appointment of Edwin Batshu as acting Minister of Defense, Justice and Security has raised questions from the opposition.
Leader of Opposition, Botsalo Ntuane, said on Friday that the opposition will decide how to “address this scandal” at their joint caucus next week while Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central, Dumelang Saleshando, has filed a parliamentary question for the Minister of Presidential Affairs to explain the appointment.
“This acting appointment is bizarre to say the least. In countries where there is good governance, the presidency would be upfront and be open as to why there should be an acting appointment in this case. But this being the new Botswana no explanation is proffered and instead the nation is left to speculate what is going on,” Ntuane said.
“It is puzzling that Hon. Batshu has been appointed on an acting capacity to a vacant position. There is no substantive Minister for whom Batshu is holding fort. I do not recall any appointment in the past similar to this one where a Minister is designated an acting Minister and yet there is no substantive Minister,” Saleshando said.
The legislator said the message that the President is communicating through such an appointment may be to imply that the former Minister of Defense, Justice and Security, Ramadeluka Seretse, will resume the post in the near future.
“If this is the rationale for the acting capacity, it would cast doubt on the independence of the judiciary. Is the President implying that he knows the outcome of the corruption case that Ramadeluka is facing?” asked Saleshando.
“It is a sign of the times we live in but in the final analysis every country gets the government it deserves,” says Ntuane.
The leader of opposition has urged Batswana to take note and correct things in 2014 because things will get from bad to worse.
While the appointment has raised eyebrows politically, the principal legal advisor to the government, Dr. Ataliah Molokomme, offered that there is nothing wrong with the appointment in terms of the Constitution. She said that the appointment was made pursuant to, and is consistent with Section 42(3) of the Constitution as read with section 127(6).
Section 47 (2) says, “In the exercise of any function conferred upon him or her by this Constitution or any other law the President shall, unless it is otherwise provided, act in his or her own deliberate judgment and shall not be obliged to follow the advice tendered by any other person or authority.”
Section 127 (6) says, “In this Constitution, unless it is otherwise provided or required by the context, a reference to the power to make appointments to any office shall be construed as including a reference to the power to make appointments on promotion and transfer and to confirm appointments and to the power to appoint a person to act in or perform the functions of that office at any time when the office is vacant or the holder thereof is unable (whether by reason of absence or infirmity of mind or body or any other cause) to perform the functions of that office.”