Molokomme quits as Attorney General

Lawrence Seretse

Attorney General Dr. Athalia Molokomme has confirmed that she will be quitting the public service after serving at the chambers as legal advisor to government for eleven years.
“What I can confirm is that after 11 years of service as AG, I feel that I have made my contribution in this area, and although I have not yet reached the compulsory retirement age of 60 years, I have decided to leave this position on 31 December 2016.However, I expect to continue to serve Botswana in another capacity, the precise nature of which I cannot disclose at this moment in time,” she said after The Botswana Gazette asked her if it was true that she was going to replace Ambassador Jacob Nkate in Japan.
Nkate told the media that he would be seizing to be ambassador from October 2016, with some rumours suggesting that he was preparing to enter the BDP presidential race ahead of 2019.
Dr. Molokomme, a Law PhD holder, has served as Attorney General since 2005, after serving only for two years at the High Court. She is a former Law lecturer and one of the founding members of Emang Basadi in the mid-1980s. Molokomme and Dr. Unity Dow are the first women in Botswana to be appointed High Court Judges, Dow later joined politics in 2014 and is now the Specially Elected Member of Parliament and Minister of Basic Education.
The job of the Attorney General has during President Ian Khama’s tenure proved to be one of the most challenging as Dr. Molokomme has found herself being accused of protecting the interests of the executive and elites as opposed to her principal mandate which is to be the custodian of the constitution.
Her role came under scrutiny in the Standing Orders case in which President Khama wanted to compel Members of Parliament to vote with a show of hand instead of the usual secret ballot.
Opposition politicians called for her resignation after her office, together with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) lost an appeal in the case in which she was challenging the constitutionality of standing orders that prescribe the election of the Speaker and Vice President and the endorsement of the Vice President. Opposition members posited that she was failing to protect the constitution and more focused in serving the interest of the BDP and President Ian Khama.
Critics have also argued that during of Dr. Molokomme’a tenure,  there has been an unprecedented use of private lawyers, in particular Parks Tafa of Collins Newman who have been engaged defend the state from time to time.