Judge Mothobi on Friday enjoyed a red-carpeted welcome at the Mothobi Ward in Serowe where he was pronounced Chief of Basimane Ward with strong links to the Khama dynasty.
The new Chief would later ask Bangwato Regent Sediegeng Kgamane for special leave from tribal duties to allow him to continue as a High Court Judge.
Mothobi immediately delegated Kgosi Gomolemo Omphile to perform the traditional duties on his behalf, having also delegated his uncle to lead the Mothobi Ward. The two wards are several yards apart.
Parading Mothobi before his subjects, Kgamane said he was instructed by President Ian Khama to appoint Judge Mothobi following a vacancy created when headman Kgomotso Boeditswe was delegated to Topise Village.
During his acceptance remarks, Omphile said while his appointment is a tall order, he would be loyal and execute his duties as determined by Mothobi.
He disclosed that he has had a good working relationship with the Khama family having done voluntary work at the Khama Rhino Sanctuary for several years.
Kgamane told the gathering that the significance of the Ward is such that President Ian Khama’s traditional consultations begin at Basimane Ward before final consultations are done at the main Kgotla.
Judge Lot Moroka who was present to witness the occasion would not give his personal views on whether or not assuming the roles of a judge and a traditional chief has space in constitutional democracy.
“Let me not comment. It’s an area I cannot venture into. Judges cannot make public comments on such controversial issues which may end up in court. It would be inappropriate for me to make personal comments outside court. For that reason I cannot give my personal views on the issue. I wish I could,” said Judge Moroka.
“Some three weeks ago, a delegation was sent to me to tell me that President Ian Khama wished Michael Letsogile Mothobi to be installed as Basimane Chief. I accepted and informed Rangwane Keilele. We agreed to install Mothobi on the 12 April,” said Kgamane.
The Regent said President was within his powers as the Paramount Chief of BaNgwato in appointing Mothobi. He said the Ward has a special link to the Khama family in that traditional consultations around the President’s personal life begin there.
A group of elderly women welcomed Mothobi with a song and handed him a hat as a present.
Mothobi began his legal career in 1982 as prosecutor. He would later become a law lecturer at the University of Botswana.
He said he was introduced to the politics of the Botswana National Front by Kgosi Bathoen in 1984. The same year he was introduced to Ambrose Motsumi and Dr. Kenneth Koma ÔÇô then BNF leader.