Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) has expressed concern and dissatisfaction over remarks made by Judge President of the Court of Appeal (CoA), Justice Ian Kirby for annotations he made at the Court of Appeal session.
Opening the Court of Appeal session Kirby hauled over the coals some Unions and interest groups for cases that they have lost against the government stating: ““the term, ExecutiveÔÇôminded” is often used by parties, Unions or interest groups who have been unsuccessful in litigating a case against government, to describe the Judge who wrote their judgment.”
Kirby went on to state that there is no real separation of power between the Executive and the legislature. More so, he added that the public service is led by the President and his Cabinet Ministers, who are all also full members of Parliament.
This did not go down well with the Union’s Deputy Secretary General, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, who then issued a scathing response to Kirby pointing out that the Court practices excessive judiciary timidity. “We are witnessing a situation where our Court of Appeal Judges always concur with Judge President in public interest matters,” adding that Kirby is wrong to say there is no separation of power in Botswana.
With regards to separation of powers, the Law Society responded by saying “The separation of power matter is still before the courts and one cannot dwell into the details of it like the Judge President did in his statement.”
Motshegwa went on to say Kirby’s remarks have the potential to affect some cases which are still to be heard such as the four suspended Judges versus Khama and Manual Workers Union versus Khama. Using Section 5(1), 96(1), 100(1) and 109(1) of the Constitution of Botswana as his defense, Motshegwa pointed out that the inclination to enroll the bench with the usual Judges whose decisions are predictable whilst sidelining others was nothing but a sad state of affairs.
He reiterated that as a Union, they would not be put off by judicial officers and they would keep fighting for the welfare of workers.