Ministry of Defence Justice and Security(MDJS)
statement
04/02/16
  STATEMENT ON THE REMARKS OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE LAW SOCIETY AT THE OPENING OF THE LEGAL YEAR  

STATEMENT ON THE REMARKS OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE LAW SOCIETY AT THE OPENING OF THE LEGAL YEAR

 

 

1.     The Ministry of Defence Justice and Security would like to express its concern at some of the remarks made by the Chairperson of the Law Society of Botswana (LSB), Mr Lawrence Lecha at the Official Opening of the Legal Year at the High Court on 2 February 2016. Mr Lecha stated, among other things, that the LSB had resolved to file papers to challenge the recent appointment of a Court of Appeal Judge.

 

2.     While the LSB is free to announce its intention to bring litigation against anyone it chooses, the manner and context in which Mr Lecha made his remarks was inappropriate. In naming the Honourable Judge, who was present in court, Mr Lecha personalized the matter unnecessarily, and displayed an insensitivity that is unbecoming of the leader of a professional association.

 

3.     This insensitivity is further displayed in the statement made by Mr Lecha shortly after mentioning the Honourable Judge by name, to the effect that the constitution of the higher courts, especially the Court of Appeal, does not reflect gender, race and age demographics in the country. By making these remarks, especially in so far as they relate to race, Mr Lecha displayed an insensitivity and intolerance that is not consistent with the values of Batswana, especially Botho, and mutual respect.

 

4.     Botswana prides itself, and is widely admired, as a multiracial, multicultural and tolerant society that welcomes citizens of other countries openly. The Botswana Government wishes to make it clear that we appreciate the positive role played by professionals from other countries in our development, without regard to gender, race and age. We cannot expect our own citizens who serve in other countries to be welcomed if we do not do so ourselves.

 

5.     In particular, we reject in the strongest terms any remarks made by anyone, that directly or indirectly have discriminatory, xenophobic and racial undertones. The LSB is reminded that the Botswana Constitution guarantees non - discrimination on the basis of race, origin, colour, sex, creed and political opinion.

 

6.     It is most regrettable that Mr Lecha’s remarks soiled an otherwise dignified and solemn occasion where the leadership of Botswana at all levels was represented, and the world was watching. To this end, we demand an unreserved written public apology from the Chairperson of the Law Society, for the embarrassment he has caused members of the judiciary and the nation.

 

7.     Until this apology is made, the Ministry will not interact with the Law Society in any official capacity.

 

Augustine N. Makgonatsotlhe

Acting Permanent Secretary

 

 

Cc – Attorney General

 

 

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