The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has strongly rejected the impanelled judges who were tasked with the party's urgent application challenging President Mokgweetsi Masisi's 'unconstitutional' presidency.
The party yesterday appeared before the panel they rejected seeking to withdraw the matter as they reckon they will not get any justice, more so that they were denied any knowledge of who could have endorsed the judges to listen to the matter.
The rejected panel comprised Justices Tebogo Tau and Barnabas Nyamadzabo who were supposed to handle the matter with Justice Tshepo Motswagole who recused himself in the matter earlier this week. Motswagole was replaced by Justice Godfrey Radijeng.
In its withdrawal affidavit deposed by the party’s executive secretary Akanyang Magama and filed early yesterday, BCP explain the complaint about the impanelled judges in handling the matter.
Magama said there was a need to withdraw the matter as their complaints were never taken into consideration and were told the rejected judges will hear the matter together with Radijeng who replaced Motswagole, with or without the party.
“We were briefed yesterday in the morning of the developments in this case and were concerned of the manner in which the Administration of Justice (AoJ) dealt with the case of such high constitutional importance involving the government,” he said.
Magama argued that it was imperative that they would not be afforded a fair trial, as they did not know who endorsed Justices Tau and Nyamadzabo, as there was no cover prepared by the Registrar endorsing them.
The party reckoned with Motswagole, the Registrar had prepared a cover endorsed with reference to the judge as the substantive judge for the matter.
“With the two judges nothing of that sort was made. We do not know who endorsed them, if such cover had been prepared and endorsed.
We find the composition illegal and not sanctioned by law,”
Further, the party decries the manner in which Justice Michael Mothobi was removed from the case and the lack of transparency in the impanelment of the judges showed that there was no doubt that there was an ulterior motive designed to achieve a declared objective.
Magama said the party resolved after much consideration, as they do not believe that they will get justice from the process as structured by the AoJ.
Following the party’s submissions to withdraw, the judges were not impressed with the party’s counsel Martin Dingake who was not present in court.
The judges agreed that Dingake had been disregarding the court by not appearing at scheduled times and offering no explanation nor apology.
Justice Tau as she was reading the judgement ordered leave for the withdrawal in the matter and awarded punitive costs against the party on attorney and own client scale.
Justice Tau explained that Dingake’s handling of the matter required censure as it was unbecoming of an officer of the court to fail to appear at a time he has set down a matter for and appear late without justifiable explanation.
“Not only were they not in court, they failed to appear despite having been contacted by the court staff.
No explanation was proffered to the court, nor the respondents for the absence.
”Today they appeared late and filed late despite knowing they wanted to withdraw the matter.
They did not even follow court procedure by seeking leave to withdraw first. This behaviour is unacceptable to the court and the respondents,” she said.
The respondents, Masisi and Speaker of the National Assembly were represented by Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe and the party by Katlego Sefako.