Saturday, April 11, 2009

This week in Parliament

source: Republic of Botswana (8/4/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 10 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

C2) 1/4/09: OP Reponses to Questions in Parliament for 1/4/09

Please find below the full texts of responses made in Parliament today by the by Hon. Dikgakgamatso Seretse on behalf of the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration (A-B) as well in his substantive role as Minister for Defence, Justice and Security (C).

The Hon. Daniel Kwelagobe was unavailable as he is inspecting the ongoing flooding and relief efforts in the Chobe District as the Minister responsible for disaster relief.

C2a) 1/4/09: QUESTION NO. 582 asked by MR. I S MABILETSA, MP - (Kgatleng East):

To ask the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration:-

i) why the services of the former Clerk of National Assembly were terminated without giving him the benefit of serving the normal three months notice as is the practice in the civil service;

ii) why it has been more than two months since he left the service and his replacement is not yet in place; and

iii) whether his termination of service was done in a fair and transparent manner which conforms to the best labour practice.


Mr. Speaker, consistent with our answer to Question No. 411 asked by Hon N. M. Modubule on 2nd March 2009, the former Clerk of the National Assembly was retired, at the discretion of the appointing authority, in accordance with the Public Service Act. The retirement was effected by payment in lieu of notice, which is one of the options available to parties in the employment relationship. The other option, which the appointing authority, at his discretion, elected not to use, is the serving of the notice. Mr Speaker, payment in lieu of notice has been used before and there is nothing irregular about it. All in all therefore, the retirement was done lawfully in terms of the law and practice. Finally, Mr Speaker, the filling of the post of Clerk of the National Assembly is still under consideration. In the meantime, an acting appointment has been made. I thank you, Mr Speaker.

C2b) 1/4/09: QUESTION NO. 555 asked by Maj. Gen M.R. Pheto, MP. – (Kweneng East):

To ask the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration to clarify if it is legal for an aspiring candidate for either council or parliamentary position to print posters and any other paraphernalia, ascribing himself as a Councillor or Member of Parliament of an area as is the case with some of the candidates; if not, is there no provision in the law that could be applied to ensure that people who are neither Members of Parliament nor Councillors do not confuse voters.


Mr. Speaker, Members of Parliament and Councillors are people who have been duly elected to those offices and are currently performing those functions in accordance with applicable laws. People who in preparation for the 2009 general elections have won Primary Elections in their Political Parties are only prospective candidates and will only be recognised as candidates with the Independent Electoral Commission following nominations of candidates in accordance with Section 35(1) of the Electoral Act. Until then, they are only prospective candidates. This status Mr Speaker applies equally to Members of Parliament and Councillors who happen to have won their Party Primary elections. Therefore, Mr Speaker it is improper for prospective candidates (sitting Members of Parliament and Councillors included) to refer to themselves, verbally or in writing, as Members of Parliament or Councillors in relation to the upcoming 2009 General Elections. It is advisable that Political Parties should ensure that their members do not cause confusion in the minds of the electorate, especially as campaigning for the 2009 General Election is yet to start. I thank you, Mr Speaker.

C2c) 1/4/09: Question No. 574 asked by Maj. Gen. M. R. Pheto, MP. - (Kweneng East):

To ask the Minister for Defence, Justice and Security:-

i) whether the selection process of applicants for judges’ posts and their short listing, which His Excellency the President rejected recently following the Judicial Service Commission recommendations, had been properly done;

ii) can he confirm that some of the applicants who were not invited for the interviews were not in fact interviewed, although they had availed themselves in certain instances and at great cost for that matter; and

iii) can he state what he intends doing about this fiasco so that the Judiciary and the Judicial Service Commission maintains their impeccable standing in this great Republic.


Mr. Speaker, I want to assure this honourable house that the selection process of applicants to the recently advertised posts of judge’s and their short listing was properly done. The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) advertised two (2) posts of judges and received thirteen (13) applications in response to the adverts. Because of the large number of applications received the Commission had to meet prior to the interviews and decide the best way of handling them and this included looking at a number of issues such as qualifications, suitability, experience and other relevant matters.

Mr. Speaker I also wish to confirm that some of the applicants who were not invited for interviews were not in fact interviewed because the JSC could only interview the invited interviewees.

Mr. Speaker, because of the thoroughness with which the Commission handled the applications, I can not agree that there was any fiasco that requires any intervention with the operations of the Judicial Service Commission. I wish to remind this house that the Judicial Service Commission is an Independent body under the Constitution and has power to regulate its own procedures. I am therefore satisfied that the procedure for openly calling for applications and interviews by the Commission is in itself a fair and recognized procedure. The record of this Commission is impeccable and in my view it has served this Republic competently and it continues to do so. I therefore have confidence that it will continue rendering that excellent service to the Nation. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

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