Saturday, July 24, 2021

Khama warns judges on personal opinions and agendas

President Ian Khama has cautioned judges and magistrates not to allow opinions and what he termed personal agendas to interfere with their judicial functions.

Khama said this while officiating at the opening of the new High Court and Court of Appeals buildings in Gaborone on Friday.

The building cost P386 million and took 36 months to construct. It has nine court rooms of the High Court and three Appeals Court courtrooms.

Khama said that the judiciary has played a big role in modeling Botswana into a peaceful and stable country.

He said that it was important for judicial officers to apply themselves on their work.

He stated that the judiciary is a key player in Botswana’s effort to attract foreign investors
“It is therefore important that judicial officers apply themselves seriously to their work, produce fair and well reasoned decisions, as well as demonstrate the requisite integrity that will inspire the confidence of the public,” he said.

Khama told the gathering, composed of members of the legal fraternity, judges and government officials that, like a three legged pot, the executive, legislature and judiciary are mutually supporting. He said the officials from the three arms of government should act within their mandate.

“….every single one of us, whether President or Minister in the Executive, MP in the Legislature, Judge or Magistrate in the Judiciary, should perform and act to expectations and responsibilities of the mandate given to us and not allow personal agendas or opinions on any issue to influence or to interfere with what is expected of us in our decision making in Government, voting in Parliament, and judgments in the courts…”

He said if judges were to act on their opinions it could undermine the judiciary.

“Separation of powers does not translate into turf wars. We can and must work together despite our different mandates under the Constitution to move Botswana forward,” said Khama.

“I hope I am not giving the impression this is not happening – on the contrary, by and large we are working well together. I only make this plea to ensure we all bear this in mind as we implement our day to day responsibilities,” he added.

It was also announced at the opening that High Court Judges Isaac Lesetedi and Monametsi Gaongalelwe had been appointed permanent Appeals court judges.

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