Friday, July 19, 2024

How Mogae overlooked Judge Tafa

Retired High Court Judge President Abednego Tafa has admitted that he was disappointed when former President Festus Mogae overlooked him for the position of Attorney General when Phandu Skelemani retired.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Tafa said; “I was disappointed.” He added that; “I was the second in charge.”

Tafa said his bone of contention was that after Skelemani indicated that he was retiring and joining politics, there were plans to rope in the then President of Court of Appeal Ian Kirby by calling him back from retirement to replace him as the new Attorney General.

Tafa indicated that after Skelemani had made his intentions clear that he would retire from the public service, he also indicated to former President Mogae that he was also on his way out.

But he was stopped in his tracks.

“I was called to the Office of the President in the presence of Rre Skelemani and Rre Molale (Eric and now Cabinet Minister). At the time Rre Molale was the Permanent Secretary to the President and the President said how can you say you are retiring because Skelemani is actually going? I’m expecting that you will be the next Attorney General.”

Tafa said he was not aware that he would be the next in command at the Attorney General Chambers.

“Then I said, actually I didn’t know in the first place that Skelemani would be going and I didn’t want to appear as if we were abandoning the Attorney General Chambers,” said Tafa.

The result is that, Tafa said, “I withdrew my retirement and my notice to retire, and in the event Mr. skelemani left for politics, I was expecting, this time around I would be appointed as the next Attorney General”.

His expectations were short-lived as he admitted that; “But I wasn’t (appointed).”

“I was disappointed. I went to Rre Mogae and told him that I will be retiring after I discovered that Mr. Kirby would becoming back to be the Attorney General.”

Asked if he was not comfortable working under Kirby, Tafa said; “No the decision by Mogae was an indictment on me.”

“Kirby is a brilliant lawyer and I would not have any problem working under him. He is not petty,” said Tafa.

He explained that: “I was actually invited to the bench. In the olden days we used to be invited to the bench, at that time I was in private practice. I was invited by the Chief Justice to come in and assist.”

“They wanted people to assist with the backlog of cases as acting judges. That is how it happened. I was actually looking forward to be a judge, I was enjoying myself in private practice,” he said.

Asked what could have attracted him to the bench, Tafa said; “First of all judgeship is the apex.” Upon being asked if his career at the bench lived up to his expectations, the retired judge said; “As to my expectations, well I didn’t have any surprises. I can assure you I enjoyed my stay in the bench.”


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