Thursday, July 2, 2020

Court dismisses Boko’s application for magistrate to recuse herself

BY CALISTUS BOSALETSWE

The Village Magistrate last week  dismissed an application in which the leader of opposition  Umbrella for Democratic Change, Duma Boko’s  lawyers had wanted  the magistrate to recuse herself  from the case due to her family ties with President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

A recusal application was brought before Magistrate Mogi Paya who was presiding over a case in which an objector, John Siele is seeking the court intervention to strike Boko off the voters roll. 

The recusal application was opposed by Siele’s lawyer, Sidney Pilane, who argued that the delay tactics was meant to prolong the matter before the court to afford Boko an opportunity to be included in the voters roll once parliament is dissolved and a writ of election is issued.

However the lawyers representing Boko comprising of Dick Bayford argued that the application was not meant to convey a wrong message that the magistrate lacked competence. 

Magistrate Mogi Paya who confirmed that indeed her mother is sister to the First lady, Neo Masisi had nothing to do with the case since she had no vested interest in the case.

Mogi was giving a ruling in which Boko lawyers had argued in their application that they were of the view that their application was motivated by the fact that Masisi was the ultimate beneficiary if Boko is disenfranchised by the decision of the court.  Boko’s lawyer further argued that the case had a bearing on Botswana politics hence the final decision could disenfranchise Boko who is a presidential candidate against Masisi.

In her ruling the magistrate went further to state that though she has family ties with the first citizens she had no vested interest in the matter before the court.

The magistrate disagreed with Boko’s lawyers’ application that due to her family ties there was conflict of interest.

The magistrate maintained that she was not conflicted. She dismissed the application with costs. Mogi however noted that she would step aside and another judicial officer would take over the matter.

Meanwhile Duma Boko who spoke on the sidelines of the judgment said they intend to appeal the magistrate’s decision.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.