Botswana: President Masisi attends official opening of legal year

Botswana: The President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, today attended the official opening of the legal year. Addressing the guests during the official opening ceremony, Chief Justice Terence Rannowane revealed that Botswana would be hosting the Biennial Meeting of the Commonwealth Judicial Educators in May this year. The meeting is expected to bring Botswana almost 100 judicial practitioners to exchange information on matters relating to the rule of law and the future of technology.

Chief Justice Rannowane said that the Judiciary is playing its part in positioning Botswana as a host of international conferences; thus, the success of the event will open more opportunities. He further revealed that they intend to pilot an e- filing system in the near future meant to decongest courts and improve efficiency in service delivery. He said the Judiciary had created a solid foundation for the strong and vibrant democracy that our country has rightfully enjoyed and recognised for both regionally and internationally.

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Chief Justice further said COVID-19 affected the number of trials being held, resulting in the accumulation of backlog across all stations. He said, therefore, their operation needs adequate funding to address this and for ease of doing business and to encourage investors to come and invest in our country.

The Chairperson of the Law Society of Botswana Mr, Osego Garebamono, aired concerns about the deteriorating state of the Judiciary. Garebamono said society is also concerned with the process of appointment of judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal, which he says lacks transparency.

For his part, Attorney General of the Republic of Botswana, Advocate Abraham Keetshabe, commended President Masisi for creating the Ministry of Justice. Advocate Keetshabe said this is a major milestone in protecting the independence of the Judiciary.

He said the courts are inundated with bail applications and urged everyone to work hard and conclude cases well in time to end robust debates on bail issues.

Meanwhile, Advocate Keetshabe urged Batswana to cherish and preserve the peace that prevails in the country, citing that the Global Peace Index (GPI) ranks Botswana among the most peaceful nations in the world. The legal year was organised under the theme “an under-resourced Judiciary- an impediment to Justice.