Botswana’s Ombudsman Augustine Makgonatsotlhe has taken the reigns as regional chairperson of the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA).
Makgonatsotlhe was last week elected the chairperson of the Southern African region chairperson during the AOMA’s sixth general assembly held in Kigali, Rwanda. He was taking over from Lesotho Ombudsman and will now sit in the AOMA Executive Committee as a representative of Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
This means that Botswana has assumed both the chairpersonship and secretariat of the southern region for years ending 2022.
AOMA is a continental body of 40 Ombudsman institutions and an additional four sectoral ombudsman institutions, which include the South African Military Ombud and the Western Cape Police Ombudsman. It exists to advance the ideals of good governance and human rights in Africa by supporting and protecting the independence and development of the Ombudsman institutions in the continent.
Earlier this year, Makgonatsotlhe faced a legal lawsuit from local opposition party, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) after he released a verdict absolving then president Ian Khama from wrongdoing in relation to his retirement home in Mosu.
The BCP had complained that the former president had abused his office by using public resources to build his Mosu home.
At home, Makgonatsotlhe’s office has often been criticised of being a toothless bulldog without any powers to enforce or ensure compliance with its recommendations or sufficient resources to act beyond its present limitations.