The Francistown legislator Wynter Mmolotsi has lashed out at the Defence and Justice Minister Shaw Kgathi for turning the Attorney General’s (AG’s) Chamber into a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) tool.
Debating the Attorney General’s budget, Mmolotsi said that it was now an extension of Tsholetsa House and another arm of the BDP even though it should not have political interference from the BDP.
“Ga ena seriti e bile e laolwa ke Domkrag (It (AG’s) no longer has no esteem because it is controlled by the BDP),” he charged.
Mmolotsi said that the AG was supposed to be independent, which he argued, was not the case and that of recent the AG was used by the BDP in a case where advocates with experience could not win the case.
“Madi a goromente a dirisitswe le go senngwa ke Domkrag mo kgetsing eo (Government revenue was misappropriated and abused in that case),” he said.
Mmolotsi was referring to last year’s case where President Ian Khama challenged the law on the election of the Speaker of the National Assembly. Khama wanted MPs to vote by a show of hand instead of a secret ballot. Among other things, Mmolotsi said that he was concerned about the AG’s employees who are leaving in large numbers after spending only a short time there.
“Tona o tshwanetse a hutsafale fa a bua ka lephata le (Minister must show remorse when speaking about this department),” he said, adding that the working conditions did not favour the AG employees.
Mmolotsi said that Kgathi should be concerned that employees were leaving in large numbers because they are lowly paid. He also criticised the outsourcing of services by the AG even though it had its own attorneys. He said that the AG staff were demoralised as the BDP engaged law firms from outside who he alleged were “BDP friends”.
Mmolotsi also questioned Kgathi as to whether the department advertised tenders to independent law firms. He argued that the department outsourced some of the services, even though no tendering was done. “This is all
However, Mmolotsi told Batshu off saying the latter was still in Tutume at the time and that was why he was still uninformed. Mmolotsi said that it was BDP and President Khama’s case and that their lawyers, Collins and Newman, wrote to the Speaker on behalf of the President. Mmolotsi warned that come 2019, “bangwe ba tlile go sekela madi ao”.
A fuming Dorcas Makgato, who is the Minister of Health, argued that the BDP and the AG were part of the case in their own right and that what Mmolotsi was saying was just a figment of his imagination.
But Mmolotsi did not take things lying down, countering that the BDP brought their lawyers who interfered in the AG’s work. Makgato said that she was forced to stand up “to dismiss all assertions of the abuse of the AG by BDP as Mmolotsi alleged”.
The MP for Selebi Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse said there was an erosion of integrity and public confidence on the AG and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.
He said as the BCP, they felt the DPP should clearly be separated from the AG.
Among other things, he said that the Office of the Parliamentary Council should be fully independent from that of the AG, as it advises the House on legal matters. However, he said that he welcomes the idea of a Legal Aid and said that this is the BCP’s idea written in the 2009 manifesto. “The BCP established a need to have a Legal Aid, though some of you are shy to admit this,” he said. Keorapetse also complained that the AG employed expatriates while locals are on internship.