Sunday, December 5, 2021

Three more judges for investigation

Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) is requesting President Ian Khama to invoke the powers vested in him by section 97 of the Constitution by constituting a Tribunal to investigate the fitness to hold judicial office by the following judges; Kholisani Solo, Barnabas Nyamadzabo and Bengbame Sechele of the High Court.

The Telegraph is in possession of a letter dated 28 September addressed to President Khama. In the letter BOFEPUSU argues that the three judges acted in a manner which gives rise to the question of their removal under section 97 of the Constitution of Botswana and, thus, ought to be investigated under the said section.

On 17 August 2015 the said Judges (Solo, Nyamadzabo and Sechele) and eight others addressed a letter to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) wherein they made certain allegations of and concerning the Chief Justice (CJ) of Botswana.

In the said letter, the Judges accused the CJ of the following: His avowed intention  to destroy careers; His persistent divisiveness characterized by gossip- for instance pitting one Judge against the other; Magistrate against Magistrate; Magistrate against Judges; Judges against Magistrates; support staff against Judges and Magistrates.

The three judges were amongst eight others who accused CJ of his propensity to spread slanderous and defamatory comments about everybody and his persistent tribal and racist remarks about Judges including those in the Court of Appeal.

A week after the petition the three judges disassociated themselves with each and every word in the said petition to the JSC.

BOFEPUSU argues that all the letters purporting to withdraw the allegations against the CJ are vague. There are no explanations on why the very serious allegations aforesaid were made and communicated to the JSC. BOFEUPUSU further say CJ Judicial officers cannot just make scathing attacks on another judge and purport to withdraw same without taking the JSC and/or the public into their confidence. 

“They must tell the JSC and/or the public why they made the serious allegations and why they are withdrawing same in sufficient detail to enable the public to determine whether or not they are not compromised. Anything less would be in violation of the requirement relating to the integrity of a judicial officer,” the letter to Khama reads.

Should Khama institute a Tribunal to investigate the three judges BOFEPUSU say Justice Nyamadzabo must advise the Tribunal on what he meant by being “caught up in group think which often results in poor quality decision-making”.  

“He must show why he mysteriously turned around to withdraw from the petition without a valid reason and whether he is fit enough to be a judge of the High Court of Botswana. Judge Sechele must also explain his mysterious retraction of serious allegations he made concerning another judicial officer. The same goes for Judge Solo,” the letter further reads.

“Kindly, let us know your position in respect of this request on or before Tuesday, 6 October 2015,” BOFEPUSU concluded its letter to President Khama.

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