The Principal legal advisor to the government, Dr. Atalia Molokomme, says┬áoutsourcing government cases to┬áCollins Newman & Company or other private law firms has been institutionalized since she took the reins in 2005, adding that it has no bearing on her political affiliation.
“I sometimes do outsource matters to private law firms as and when necessary,” the AG says in response.
The AG says the vast majority of government lawyers have, at the Attorney General’s Chambers, been reporting for duty. She dismissed speculation that some might have joined the just ended public sector strike.
The AG denies attorney┬áParks Tafa and his law firm were enlisted by the government because of Collins Newman & Company’s closer ties with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party or with President Ian Khama.
“Mr Parks Tafa and his law firm, Collins and Newman, were selected on the basis of their wide experience working and litigating in labour relations matters, including industrial action. Mr Tafa’s political affiliation, or that of any other law firm we have used is not relevant consideration,” Molokomme says.
The AG says the government is unable to quantify the cost of the case to the tax payer as the case is ongoing.
Public sector unions are demanding a 16 percent pay increment from the government while the latter is offering a 5 percent conditional raise. The government says it has no P2 billion needed to meet the demands.
Opposition parties┬áhave unanimously thrown┬átheir weight behind workers. The opposition leaders addressed striking workers at various locations countrywide at the start and end of the historic ten-day nationwide strike.
To this end, the leader of opposition, Botsalo Ntuane, has sought audience with President Ian Khama with a view to break the impasse between government and the unions over pay hike.