Monday, May 17, 2021

Plot to discredit Chief Justice ahead of case against President Khama

Sunday Standard investigations have uncovered what appears to be a plot to discredit Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo and the Judicial Services Commission ahead of the case by the Law society of Botswana against President Khama.

An apparent agent provocateur who claims to be a “concerned judge” is circulating an e-mail letter claiming that the Chief Justice and the Judicial Services Commission are conspiring with the Law Society of Botswana to take President Khama to court for rejecting their recommendation that Omphemetse Motumise be appointed High Court judge.

The “concerned judge” who generated a new e-mail address specifically for the e-mail message claimed to be writing from Francistown. Sunday Standard investigations however indicated the mail may have been sent from a server on a hosting company data centre because the originating IP address is from a big server hosting company in Sunnyside America.

As a result, the “concerned judge” was able to hide his geographic location, prevent web tracking and avoid leaving a digital footprint, which suggests the work of an expert. Judges on the other hand are not known for tech skills.

In his e-mail message, the “concerned judge” states that “to impute that the President may not be of sound mind because he has rejected the Judicial Service Commission’s (JSC) recommendation is an insult of the highest order.”

He further claims that, “long before the JSC met to consider and interview prospective candidates for the positions of Judge, it was an open secret that the JSC had approached certain individuals to make themselves available for appointment. In fact, it was known that Mr Motumise was the preferred candidate and it came as no surprise to us when we heard that he had been recommended for appointment and will be serving here in Francistown. I personally have no doubt about Mr Motumise’s abilities.

What I have found shocking was the coming to pass or confirmation of the rumour that started circulating in December 2014 that the Chief Justice or JSC intended to appoint Mr Motumise a judge.┬á┬áI had initially dismissed the rumour and it is for this reason that unlike the Law Society, I have mixed feelings about Mr Motumise’s appointment.┬á┬áThis is not because I do not consider him to be unworthy of appointment but for me the credibility of the JSC has become suspect. I do not know whether judicial interviews are meant to get the best candidates or are merely a window dressing exercise intended to address regional, ethnic and tribal imbalances in the judiciary. The JSC needs to assure us that this is not so. I am also not sure with the JSC lobbies the Law Society with respect to all appointments or Mr Motumise’s case is a special one. If it is a special one, why is it so?

One wonders whether it is also true that the JSC had lobbied the Law Society to ensure that Mr Motumise’s appointment was carried through and that the Law Society gave such an undertaking. Why would the JSC seek to extract an undertaking from the Law Society of such a nature unless there was something fishy going on? Should we dismiss this as another rumour?┬á┬áThe coincidence is just too great to ignore. A friend of mine told me that the Chief Justice was recently heard as saying it was Mr Motumise or no other candidate for appointment.

Could the envisaged proceedings by the Law Society have the overt blessing of the Chief Justice and by extension the JSC? Is it not time that interviews for judicial appointments were openly conducted and a clear assessment criterion be developed? As things currently stand, the JSC entire process is really a sham and lacks credibility.┬á┬áIt is a process that is hijacked by the Chief Justice and muddled by his prejudices and insecurities. Other members of the JSC seem to have no say but are happily going along with the fraud. Should the President be expected to endorse this? Certainly not in my books. I say to the Law Society, let’s argue for the disbandment of the JSC period!”

Independent investigations by the Sunday Standard have however indicated that Chief Justice Dibotelo never conspired with the law society to take president Khama to court.

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