Khama appoints Kebonang to the bench


President Ian Khama has ignored threats of legal action from the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) to appoint Zain Kebonang as acting judge of the High Court.

LSB had earlier this week served a statutory notice to the Attorney General after the Judicial Service Management (JSC) had recommended Kebonang to Khama for the position of acting judge, pending finalisation of a High Court case between LSB and Khama, and JSC. Sources close to Kebonang said he got a phone call from Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo to inform him that Khama had agreed to his acting position.

“The Chief Justice informed Kebonang that they are busy preparing his contract,” said one of the sources in the legal fraternity.  Contacted for comment Kebonang said he has not yet heard anything from anybody.  “I haven’t spoken to the Chief Justice yet. But I have missed a number of phone calls,” said Kebonang late yesterday.  Kebonang is the identical twin brother of assistant minister of Trade and Industry Sadique Kebonang. He is also the chairman of the Competition Authority. The secretary of JSC Michael Motlhabi also pleaded ignorance of the appointment.

“Send me a note I will attend to it tomorrow in the morning [today]. I haven’t seen anything since I have not been around,” said Motlhabi.  The LSB lawyer Tshiamo Rantao said he was not aware of Kebonang’s appointment.  In an earlier interview Rantao said: “We are of the view that, whether acting or full time, any appointment would be in contravention of section 96 (2) of the Constitution which makes it mandatory for the President to appoint in accordance with the advice of the JSC”.  The fracas between LSB and Khama ensued after the President rejected the recommendation of JSC to appoint senior attorney Omphemetse Motumise to the bench.

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