Saturday, September 25, 2021

Khama and Boko square up over appointment of Ombudsman

President Ian Khama and Leader of the Opposition Duma Boko are at odds over the appointment of a new Ombudsman.

The position recently fell vacant with the retirement of Festinah Bakwena.

Under the law, President Khama is required to consult the Leader of Opposition. Sunday Standard has gathered that President Khama has written a letter to Boko informing him of a decision to appoint Augustine “Ten Ten”

Makgonatsotlhe as Ombudsman.

A lawyer by training, Makgonatsotlhe is currently the Secretary of Defence in the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security.

He has previously acted as State Council in the Attorney General’s Chambers.

Boko has written back to Khama asking a full list of who the other contenders for the position have been before a definitive decision to appoint Makgonatsotlhe was taken. Among other things, the Leader of opposition holds that the position of Ombudsman should not be limited to serving public servants but should be opened to the larger professional cadre that qualifies to assume it.

The Leader of Opposition holds that the appointment should be detached from the Office of the President since the presidency falls under the realm of investigations that are routinely undertaken by the Ombudsman.

The dispute over appointment of Ombudsman comes in the wake of a recent decision by President Khama to appoint his erstwhile General Counsel, Abraham Keetshabe as Director of Public Prosecutions, a decision that left a sour after taste among many in the legal fraternity who felt that Keetshabe lacked sufficient professional detachment required of the office of public prosecutions to make difficult decisions affecting the president and his inner circle. In the end some legal observers concluded that the appointment did not inspire the much needed public trust in the office of public prosecutor.

In the past the matter of how to appoint an Ombudsman has been an issue, especially when Otsweletse Moupo was the Leader of Opposition. Like Boko, Moupo had questioned the spirit of so called consultations by Office of the President, insisting that the behaviour of State President amounted to informing rather than consulting as envisaged by the law.

It remains to be seen if Khama will go ahead without taking into consideration the concerns raised by Leader of Opposition – a decision that could spark legal action to clarify just what the intent of the law is.

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