Leader of opposition Duba Boko has cast doubt on the capabilities of Attorney General Dr Athaliah Molokomme as government’s leading litigator. Debating the budget for the Attorney General’s Chambers, Boko – who is a lawyer by profession – did not mince words labelling the Attorney General as the great embarrassment to government as she has failed to execute her mandate as the lead litigator. “If the lead litigator does not do her job maybe is better you fire her and am just suggesting that as she has failed to lead from the front,” hit out Boko, adding that previous Attorney Generals Phandu Skelemani and Ian Kirby lead from the front. He gave several cases which the Attorney General Molokomme should have led from the front but said that she only send junior officers.
One notably case is the ‘show of hands’ case in which President Ian Khama took Parliament to court seeking that Members of Parliament should vote in parliament using hands rather than secret ballot. He called on the AG to avoid seeking personal victories during cases, citing the statement by former High court Judge Dr Unity Dow who said that AG is a special type of litigator whose aim is not to seek to score success but seek justice. Boko, who seemed to enjoy his presentation called on the Minister of Justice, Defence and Security, to consider separating Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) from the office of the Attorney General. “The discretion to prosecute rests with the DPP and it seems the discretion is fettered by the involvement of the AG,” said Boko, who also called on the police to be relieved of duties of being prosecutors.
On the administration of Justice, the MP for Mogoditshane Sedirwa Kgoroba called for transparency in the appointment of judges. “The executive should not interfere with the appointment of judiciary officers. There are allegations that certain judges take orders from the executive and are allocated particular cases,” said Kgoroba. The MP for Selibe-Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse, said Botswana’s judiciary system is flawed as five out of the six members of the Judicial Service commission are executive appointees. He proposed the review of the constitution so as to review the powers of the President with regard to the judiciary in order to make it more independent. In response to the debates by MPs, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi suggested that they come with private members bill especially to constitutional review.
On the performance of the AG, Kgathi denied that she is underperforming saying she was a leading litigator when Kirby was the AG. “Maybe your memory is failing you or you were still a student when the current AG was the lead litigator during the time of Kirby,” said Kgathi. Kgathi proposed the authorisation of P254 575 600 as recurrent budget for Administration of Justice. He also proposed development budget of P101, 332,744 for the 2016/17 financial year. The budget covers the construction of boundary walls for Mahalapye magistrates’ houses, Kanye magistrate court as well as extension of Broadhurst magistrate court. On the budget for the Attorney General, Kgathi proposed recurrent budget of P198, 158, 280. 00 and development budget of P5, 023, 040. 00.