Lawyers acting for Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) have accused the court of appeal of having a political interest in the case between government and the Unions.
This comes after the court of appeal registrar wrote a letter seeking to inquire when the unions will be ready to settle the record of an Industrial Court judgment that the Unions are appealing. The Court of Appeal wants the Appeal noted by the Union on the Industrial Court judgment declaring the strike by essential service illegal to be heard.
In a correspondence leaked to this publication and directed to the registrar of the Court of Appeal, lawyer acting for the federation Otto Itumeleng says that the Union is concerned at the level of interest expressed by the court of Appeal.
“There are appeals that were noted as far back as 2009 which have still not been enrolled for hearing because of delays on your part in preparing the appeal record. A case in point is the Charles Tibone defamation case where despite repeated pleas since 2009 by the Appellants to have the record prepared, it has still not been prepared,” says Itumeleng.
“It follows that your zeal in seeking to have the present appeal disposed expeditiously is misplaced………………….we are not too sure as to what informed your opinion that this is a matter of national interest because there are no affidavits before you on the issue.” adds Itumeleng.
The Unions’ law firm has copied their letter to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the law Society.
“Your undisclosed high level of interest in the appellants’ appeal ,when other litigants are complaining that their appeals are taking too long to be placed before the Court of Appeal, does little to promote public confidence in the judiciary,”
The union says it was not given notice on atleast more than two occasions when the appeal matter was to be discussed.
The union lawyer states that the registrar of the court of Appeal has no power to convene meetings for settlement of case records; instead the registrar of the High Court is the only one with such power.