Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Botswana will not honour African Union ruling on Prof Good

The recent decision by the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights to have the government compensate the deported Prof Kenneth Good seems to have caused an uproar within government circles.
The government has openly declared it shall not follow the decision of the African Union Human Rights body that urged it to compensate Prof Good. The issue has raised eyebrows on whether government acknowledges the human rights set up of the African Union, of which Botswana is a member.

The ruling declared that Prof Good should be reimbursed by the government for his domestic legal costs and for appearing before the African Union (AU). This prompted a firm and unequivocal declaration that the government would not compensate the former University of Botswana lecturer because the AU ruling was biased.

The Daily News quotes Foreign Affairs Minister, Phandu Skelemani, as saying, “We are not going to follow on the recommendation made by the commission; it does not give orders, and it is not a court. We are not going to listen to them. We will not compensate Mr Good.”

The decision not to uphold the ruling by the AU Human Rights body has been viewed as ‘regrettable’ by the chairman of the Law Society, Tebogo Sebego.

“Judicial bodies which are meant to keep international rulings are meant to be what they are, if we are part of AU then the issues of human rights must say something about our laws,” he said.
However, the government’s decision not to follow the ruling has also roused opposition fervour to lash out at the actions of the government.

In an interview with The Sunday Standard several opposition party members slammed the government’s behaviour.

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) secretary, Taolo Lucas, stated that the actions taken by the government do not surprise him at all.

“The Khama-Skelemani combination has not shown any respect for international protocol or for handling regional continental and international issues, I’m not surprised,” he said.
According to the BCP, Skelemani’s words could isolate Botswana.

“They seem to think Botswana is an island; this attitude is making us a rogue state,” he said.
Lucas further reiterated where the BCP stands on the issue.

“BCP believes in respect of International and continental treaties, which we are a part of,” he said.

The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) president, Gomolemo Motswaledi, had not yet been fully briefed on the matter but still shared his initial thoughts.
“Whatever our obligations in terms of how we associate to the letter of the body, we should live up to that obligation; we cannot just differ from other nations without bearing the consequences,” he said.

Botswana National Front (BNF) General Secretary, Akanyang Magama, shares the same sentiments as expressed by Motswaledi.

“If they are a government that believes in the rule of law, then why can’t they abide by that? These are double standards,” he said.

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