Mmegi Online :: Front runners for Chief Justice post
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Last Updated
Wednesday 21 February 2018, 17:14 pm.
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Front runners for Chief Justice post

After Chief Justice (CJ) Maruping Dibotelo announced his retirement for end of April, it is expected that Court of Appeal Judge Isaac Lesetedi will take over.
By Oarabile Mosikare Fri 09 Feb 2018, 10:00 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Front runners for Chief Justice post








Sources within the Administration of Justice (AoJ) said the powers that be have their eye on Lesetedi.

One reason why the thinking is returning him back to the High Court to head it, is that for as long as the Court of Appeal Judge President (JP) Ian Kirby is at the helm Lesetedi cannot ascend. “The CJ position is one within grasp,” one insider said.

Another source explained that, “To be frank it is Kirby pushing for it. It creates a vacuum and allows him to continue as JP”.

Another impeccable source claimed that the race is between Justice Abednego Tafa of Lobatse High Court and Lesetedi. He alleged that Tafa is fighting ahead to be the next CJ.

“The most senior Judge after Lesetedi is Justice Zibani Makhwade. He would be the one to be appointment if seniority counted for anything.

The truth is that the Constitution makes no reference to seniority and so anyone can be appointed the CJ. They don’t have to even be interviewed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC),” the source said. 

He reasons that the late Justice Julian Nganunu was not the most senior judge when he was appointed the CJ.

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At the time, Justice Isaac Aboagye from Ghana was senior to Nganunu.

The government did not want to delocalise the High Court bench after the passing of Chief Justice Moleleki Mokama. “Dibotelo is the only one who was senior at the time of being appointed the CJ.

Mokama was not the most senior too. He was taken from Attorney General’s Chambers to head the bench.”

He further explained that Justice Modiri Letsididi should have been the most senior judge, but he had too many acting appointments.

These are not considered in computing years of service. “Makhwade was never appointed to an acting, but a substantive judge from day one.”

There is also a rumour that Minister of Basic Education, Unity Dow is being considered for the position.

Dow was the first female judge. She retired from the bench to re-join private practice and later active politics.

Meanwhile, there are five positions being advertised for judgeship. Currently there are no acting judges after the ones who were suspended came back to work.

The fifth vacancy was created by the retirement of Justice Key Dingake who has been appointed to the Supreme and National Courts of Papua New Guinea.

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