The continued appointment of foreign Judges to the Court of appeal is unjustifiable and completely unacceptable.
Leader of opposition Duma Boko has tabled an urgent motion seeking parliament to support appointment of local judges at the Court of Appeal.
“It is not just unsatisfactory but totally unacceptable in this day and age. Little wonder that for its entire life, this court has been manned, literally by males of predominantly white skin tone with smatterings of blackness here and there. To raise these realities and point them out is not to be racist or xenophobic but to assert ourselves as citizens of this country and to say enough is enough,” said Boko.
Boko’s urgent motion seeks parliament to support appointment of local judges at the Court of Appeal.
The motion came after the Lobatse High Court struck down section 4 of the Court of Appeal Act, invalid and unconstitutional for delegating powers to president to appoint judges more than three times.
Boko said the High Court judgment has created veritable constitutional crisis requiring the most urgent intervention of Parliament by way of doing exactly what the law requires of it; to subscribe the number of judges for the Court of Appeal.
”The seeming donation of Parliament’s powers in the manner of the erstwhile section 4 of the Court of Appeal Act, to the president has been adjudged an improper delegation or abdication of responsibility. It falls on parliament to properly apply itself and exercise its constitutional powers,” said Boko.
He congratulated High Court Judge for his ruling which stateed that the president has no power to grant any further appointment beyond the three year tenure as that undermines the independence of the judges concerned and renders them beholden to the executive as they look for contract extension or renewal from the president which is unconstitutional.
Boko’s motion seeks to prescribe the number of judges, process of appointment of these judges into line with international practice and lastly to restore the collective of the nation by ensuring that the judges of the Court of Appeal are all citizens of Botswana.
In a paper titled, “Motivation for motion on the Court of Appeal,” Boko described the appointment of Court of Appeal judges as being far from being transparent.
Boko urged his colleagues to support his motion to prescribe that there shall be a maximum of ten judges of the Court of Appeal, who shall all be citizens of Botswana and whose appointment shall be pursuant to an open, transparent and objective process involving the advertisement of existing vacancies and public hearings in respect of all shortlisted applicants.
The motion was postponed yesterday (Monday) after members agreed to seek advice from parliament Business Advisory Committee on extension of parliament hours to accommodate tabling the urgent motion.