Following the cascading developments over the past few days which saw Justice Abednego Tafa nullify the appointments of six Court of Appeal (CoA) judges as constitutionally invalid; President Dr. Ian Khama has made known his dissatisfaction with the judgment by filing a notice of appeal. In the milestone judgment which many experts in the justice system say is a slap in the face; Justice Tafa ruled that the President does not have the right to appoint Isaac Lesetedi, Monametsi Gaongalelwe, John Foxcroft, John Cameron, Arthur Hamilton and Craig Howie to the bench.
Information gathered by this publication shows that Government has filed an urgent application challenging the milestone judgment which was made about a fortnight ago. The judgment followed a challenge made by the National Amalgamated Local and Central Government and Parastatal Workers’ Union (NALCGPWU) against President Dr. Ian Khama over his appointment of the judges. NALCGPWU Secretary General, Johnson Motshwarakgole, said they will keep exerting the necessary pressure to ensure that the president’s powers are kept in check. In the appeal, Matlhogonolo Phuthego argues that Justice Tafa blundered by not recognising that no single provision of the Constitution is to be considered in isolation.
“The court a quo erred in differentiating a subsequent three-year contract from the initial one, as being destructive of Judicial independence, since any perceived hopes or sense of obligation on the part of a Judge would be equally present in a Judge who, after reaching 70, seeks to be appointed on the initial contract. If such a contract is specifically authorised, as it is, by the Constitution itself, and it’s therefore unobjectionable, then subsequent contracts would be no different.” However, Mboki Chilisa, the lawyer representing NALCGPWU says they will meticulously challenge any form of appeal as no Judge should be reappointed after a fixed term.