- Highly powerful JSC meets amid judicial crisis
- Fireworks expected owing to protracted judicial woes and wars
- Judicial intergrity and morale has never been this low
- Morupisi say agenda remains a secret, two prospective judges may be dumped
The Judical Service Commission (JSC) is scheduled to sit on Friday in what is expected to be a ‘dog-eat-dog’ session owing to the messy and chaotic situation the judiciary finds itself in.
This session has been welcomed the judiciary and the lawyers who are pegging their hope on the JSC to rejuvinate their working environment which they say has hit a historic rockbottom.
The JSC consists of Chief Justice, Maruping Dibotelo, President of the Court of Appeal, Ian Kirby, Permanent Secretary to the President- Carter Morupisi, Attorney Genetral Abram Keetshabe, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, member of the Law Society and another person appointed by president Ian Khama.
This will be Morupisi’s second sitting following his controversial appointment to the JSC which many observers criticised as demonstrative of Khama’s capture of the judiciary. Morupisi will have to bear the brunt of a disgruntled and troubled Chief Justice Dibotelo who has been vocal about the starving of the judiciary of resources which he says cripples judicial independence.
Morupisi in an interview with this publication confirmed that they will sit on Friday but said the agenda of the meeting is a secret. Efforts to request the agenda from the LSB which is a member were also fruitless as the Law society said the agenda had not been shared with them.
Some members of the judiciary said the upcoming sitting should be panacea to the cancer threatneing to eat away the judiciary. “Only straight talk can save our judicary this time around. One major challenge the JSC faces is that it seats at a time when there is also too much mistrust among them following the appointment of the PSP. Keetshabe also, following his presence at the mickey-mouse Motumise appointment press conference as well as the outgoing Kirby factor,” remarked one judge who prefered anonymity in fear of violating the stringent code of conduct.
The decisions of the commission according to the constitution should be by the vote of a majority of the members present, and in the event of a deadlock, the Chairman shall have a casting vote.
Another highly placed source said the CJ was likely to face criticism for his habitual wars with his judges as that was, by and large, the main reason of the judiciary’s major downfall.
The sitting also comes in at a time when the judiciary’s troubles are skyrocketting, owing to a series of challenges, including those presented by outgoing acting judges whose contracts expire in December namely Justice Kabelo Lebotse of Lobatse High Court, Gaborone High Court Judge, Justice Boipuso Tshweneyagae and Lobatse High Court Judge Jennifer Dube.
The trio were headhunted following the suspension of the disgraced quatert of Key Dingake, Modiri Letsididi, Mercy Gaarekwe and Rainer Busang who were then facing charges of revolting against Dibotelo. In 2016 they called for the impeachment of Dibotelo after he reported them to the police for claiming housing allowances that they were not entitled to.
Khama later agreed to lift their suspension following their apologies in which they cited financial challenges as their main reason for bowing to the system.
Another highly placed judge who spoke to The Botswana Gazette said the sitting may throw out Khama’s invitation of Lizo Ncongco and Gabriel Komboni to the judiciary which may have been ‘done as a cover-face desperate plot following his loss to Omphemetse Motumise.’
Komboni and Ncongco were to indicate whether they would be willing to serve in the bench or not but since then, they have been left guessing till now. A member of the JSC told this publication that it was all an empty invitation devoid of truth and substance.“The JSC is the one that determines whether there is a post or not. So there was no way the duo could make it. beyond the JSC declaring a vacancy,” revealed the highly placed judge.