A pool of seasoned lawyers and judges have lined up for the position of Court of Appeal (CoA) President following an announcement that the current President Judge Ian Kirby retires end of this year.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi is expected to announce his preferred candidate after considering recommendations from Kirby that of his legal advisors. (Judicial Service Commission included).
A number of names are being bandied about and those which keep cropping up are Justice Isaac Lesetedi, Justice Tebogo Dambe, Advocate Abraham Keetshabe, and Advocate Sidney Pilane.
A source within the Administration of Justice (AoJ) told Sunday Standard that, “Justice Lesetedi appears to be Justice Kirby’s most likely successor, but as things stand, anything is possible. Justice Dambe, Pilane or anyone for that matter may be the surprise successor. It’s the President prerogative to decide on who should head the CoA bench and no one else but the President’’ said the source
The source further revealed the currently Justice Lesetedi is in pole position as he has the backing of Justice Kirby and some law enforcement agencies head honchos.
Court of Appeal president Justice Ian Kirby will be retiring November 30 2021 when his contract ends.
According to a recent media release from Administration of Justice, Justice Kirby has served for more than 30 years, 20 years on the High Court and Court of Appeal benches and ultimately as president of the country’s highest court.
The release says Masisi will at the appropriate time appoint Justice Kirby’s successor.
The judiciary wishes to extend its gratitude for the immense contribution Justice Kirby has made to Botswana’s jurisprudence.
The Court of Appeal is the apex court of Botswana and is presided over by the President of the Court appointed by the State President, and such number of Justices of Appeal as may be prescribed by parliament.
The Chief Justice and the other judges of the High Court are also ex officio members of the Court of Appeal and may be called upon to fill in when required.
According to court records, the appointment of a citizen Judge President Justice Kirby took place in October 2010 and shortly thereafter three other Judges were appointed on a full time basis being the late Justice Elijah Legwaila in January 2012, Justice Isaac Lesetedi and Justice Monametsi Gaongalelwe in August 2012. The record further reflects that in addition to ex officio Justices, there are three permanent citizen Judges and five visiting Justices form Scotland and South Africa.