A committee member of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development committee (UNRISD) has said Batswana have long expressed concern over the possibility that President Ian Khama as head of state would not respect the rule of law.
The UNRISD committee member, Dr Onalenna Selolwane, who is a former University of Botswana lecturer, said that a person who does not respect the rule of law should not be a president.
She said former President Festus Mogae was right to voice what others have been concerned about, without saying it out publicly, that Botswana has veered a little bit off the rail in terms of lack of respect for the rule of law from the highest office.
Selolwane’s comments came in the wake of Mogae’s castigation of Khama’s administration for not respecting the rule of law at the just-ended African Leadership Forum in Tanzania.
She stated that Khama could not be blamed for lack of respect for the rule of law because he is from a military background, adding that she was one of the people who expressed disquiet in 1998 on whether Khama would respect the rule of law, but that was seen as opposition┬áviews.
“So it has happened and we all suffer,” she said. ┬á
Selolwane warned Botswana Democratic Party members and sympathizers to stand up to address the issue. She said that despite the fact Mogae’s choice was not right, he is not shy to state that he made a mistake by appointing Khama.┬á
“It shows leadership and responsibility because we as people cannot predict how our choices [those who we choose to succeed us] will carry out their responsibility,” said Selolwane.
She said that if former statesmen have noticed that the current administration is not respecting the rule of law, they have to voice out their concern.
Selolwane stated that the current president has merely been going through the motions in respect of due process. She gave an example of John Kalafatis’ killers who were pardoned by Khama after they were convicted and sent to prison.┬á
She stated that Khama thought that he was not the one who gave himself the power of presidential pardoning because he found it in the constitution and thus uses it.