The country’s judicial system is respected by everyone at every level from the customary courts to the Court of Appeal, says President Lt Gen.Seretse Khama Ian Khama.
Officially opening a two-day judicial conference in Mahalapye on Thursday July 30, President Khama applauded the pivotal role the judiciary has played in the development of the country.
He said Botswana was renowned for its peace, stability and tranquility, and that these national tenets could not have been possible without the checks and balances of an impartial judicial system.
President Khama noted that Botswana competes with other countries for foreign direct investment, and that the contribution of the judiciary in attracting the investment was evident. He added that an effective judiciary was a precondition for any country to succeed in attracting foreign investors.
President Khama also noted that the success of the country was anchored on the principles of democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and a vision to secure a better future for the people.
He said efforts to uphold the priciples have not gone unnoticed, and that the reputation of the country as a constitutional democracy had been one of the reasons the country was ranked high internationally in the field of the rule of law, anti-corruption and a desirable investment destination.
He said as the executive arm of government, they have always played their part in respecting the independence of the judiciary.
International institutions rate Botswana governance highly, and the independence of the judiciary is one of the yardsticks used to measure this performance, he noted.
Furthermore, President Khama said the country prides itself with the independence of the judiciary and that the principle was embraced at independence in 1966. We strongly believe in it, and will continue to preserve it, said President Khama.
He said the government had over the years ensured that adequate allocations were made for the judiciary.
The government, he added, has also been supportive of all initiatives undertaken in the judiciary because they recognise that efficient service delivery was the hallmark of good governance.
He also noted that the government recently provided vehicles and caravans for special stock theft courts and specially designed buses for mobile traffic courts.
President Khama added that the government recognises that the judiciary must have adequate facilities to operate smoothly and administer justice in a fitting environment.
He said the expansion and modernisation of the judiciary bears testimony to the government’s commitment in resourcing the judiciary.
President Khama also noted that the country has undergone transformation in all spheres of its developmental efforts, and that the judiciary as an integral part of government had also been expanded and modernised, not only in its court structures, but also in the process through which justice was done.
President Khama added that the government would endeavour to continue to provide the necessary resources, not only to the judiciary, but also to other stakeholders within the value chain such as the police, prisons, the Attorney General’s Chambers and others to ensure that excellence was enhanced.
The conference was held under the theme: A well-resourced judiciary is fundamental to the expeditious delivery of quality justice.
President Khama also advised judicial officers to exercise their functions diligently, as they impact on those they serve for better or for worse.
He said their core function was to impartially adjudicate over cases brought to them expeditiously and timeously pronounce judgements on such cases.
President Khama pleaded with them to adopt this approach in keeping with their responsibilities and expectations, and to build on the already acquired good reputation.