•”You were dead wrong” judges tell Khama
The law Society of Botswana (LSB) on Wednesday Morning prevailed over President Ian Khama in a case in which they dragged the first citizen to court for rejecting the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to appoint Omphemetse Motumisi to the high court bench.
Delivering their judgment today, the Court of Appeal (CoA) bench agreed that Khama’s decision to ignore the recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was unconstitutional.
The CoA believes the president was not entitled to turn down the recommendation of the JSC as his role was to act in accordance with the JSC.
The courts believe that it is the JSC which determines when to fill a vacancy.
“It initiates that process of filling up a vacancy by issuing out advertisements for the position and setting out the minimal qualifications stipulated in the constitution for appointment to that office,” reads the judgment.
The courts also say that it is to the JSC that the applications are submitted and it is the JSC which considers the application, evaluates the individual applicants.
“It is at that stage of the evaluation that the government as any other stakeholder so as to identify suitable candidates who meet the kind of independent minded, hardworking, upright and fair minded individuals to resource the judiciary, for it is only with those kinds of individual judicial characteristics that a judiciary which is independent minded, which is efficient, accountable and has sound knowledge of the law can be built.”
The judges further ruled that in the absence of an explanation by President Khama, there were were no grounds to hold for his decision to refuse the appointment of Motumisi.
Last year, Khama rejected the recommendation of the JSC to appoint Motumisi to the bench. He did not give reasons why he objected to their recommendation.