After 51 years of independence, Botswana is yet to appoint a woman to the Court of Appeal bench.
This has now become a concern to the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) who have observed that the vacuum is “an indictment not on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) or government alone, but on the country as a whole.”
The LSB Chairperson, Kgalalelo Monthe, asserted that the absence of women judges in the highest court of the land is an undeniable sad state of affairs because “there is a lack of balance on the composition of the court to reflect the demographics of Botswana in general.”
Monthe agitated for transformation in the Court of Appeal in regards to appointment of women during the opening of this year’s legal year in Gaborone, Tuesday morning.
Since the localisation of the judiciary begun in the 1990’s some women judges have been appointed to the High Court bench with more being appointed as Magistrates, but none has made it to the Appeal’s court so far.
Nonetheless, Advocate Abraham Keetshabe, Attorney General of Botswana has applauded the Judiciary for that particular milestone of localisation.
Keetshabe stated that since Justice Kirby was appointed by President Khama to head the Court of Appeal in 2010, more citizens continue to be appointed to the highest court.
“There is now a noticeable difference in the speed at which cases are being heard and disposed of by the Court of Appeal. Indeed in my humble view, the court of Appeal is leading by example. The speed at which cases are disposed of before the Court of Appeal is to me, relatively impressive,” he noted.