- BMD founder considered to replace Makgonatsotlhe
- He can turn around the fortunes of Ombudsman office – Analyst
- ‘No. I am not available’ -Pilane
Former Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) president, Advocate Sydney Pilane’s name has popped up on the list that President Mokgweetsi Masisi is considering to replace Augustine Makgonatsotlhe as the new Ombudsman.
If the developments on the ground are anything to by, the veteran Pilane could be making his way back to the civil service after he left back in 2008 when Ian Khama took over the presidency. Pilane at time of quitting the civil service served as special legal advisor to President Festus Mogae.
Information gathered by The Patriot on Sunday is that Pilane, who is close associate to Masisi. is likely to be appointed as the new Ombudsman. The maverick former BMD leader and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) vice president is said to have been contacted by the Office of the President (OP) over his availability for the post.
“Pilane is the preferred choice to replace Makgonatsotlhe who left and has been appointed Ambassador. Pilane is deemed to be the right candidate. No other names cropped up yet,” said the source, adding that an Ombusdman will soon be appointed.
On Thursday, the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation announced that Masisi appointed Makgonatsotlhe Ambassador-Designate to the State of Kuwait.
It is also said the incumbent Deputy Ombudsman William Moncho, now acting Ombudsman, is not deemed to be good enough to take the reigns.
The office of the Ombudsman is the part of the justice architecture with a focus on promoting administrative justice by investigating allegations of mal-administration within the public sector. As a dispute resolution mechanism alternative to the courts, the Office discharges its mandate by investigating complaints of an improper administrative conduct and recommending remedial actions where, in the opinion of the Ombudsman, the complainant has suffered injustice arising from the administrative conduct. The Ombudsman Office falls under the Office of the President.
Contacted for a comment on Thursday, Pilane briefly said he is not aware that he is being considered by the president as the potential new Ombudsman. “No. I am not available. Besides, there is no shortage of qualified people,” he said.
The maverick experienced attorney has been on several occasions linked to a return to the public service. Firstly, Pilane was linked with a move to Botswana Defence Force (BDF) being preferred to the position of Judge Advocate which is new in the BDF with appointing authority for it being president too.
Pilane was in 2020 anticipated to occupy is of Judge Advocate General who shall be the head of military justice as stated in a Bill that had sought the amendment of BDF Act sections 248 and 249.
The Botswana Defence (Amendment) Act, 2020 which has been passed into a law by parliament proposed the Amendment Act, 2020 section 248 (1) respectively, for the Judge Advocate General shall be appointed by the President acting in accordance with the advice of BDF Defence Council.
The duties of the wither Judge Advocate General will include acting as a legal advisor to the Defence Force, oversee the administration of the military justice, provide attorneys and other persons required by the military courts and providing legal services to the Defence Council respectively.
Furthermore, Pilane was linked to be a Special Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP) last year.
This is after SEMP Dr Unity Dow was anticipated to resigns from parliament after she resigned from Masisi’s cabinet as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations for unknown reasons.
Political analyst Frank Mogotsi said given Pilane’s experience as lawyer, he will be good as an Ombudsman, an office that needs a very well rounded individual. He said Pilane could be able to turnaround the office although it is attached under presidency.
“Although if he could be appointed in any position in public service by the president, it would seem like to be a political appointment but his experience in the public service will be critical. He is a decorated attorney and he can handle the duties of Ombudsman in smart way,” he said.
In addition, Mogotsi said the office such as of the Ombudsman will always remain not worthy regardless of how good the person who is appointed to is due to the fact that it’s under OP control.
“The Ombudsman should be made a fully-fledged independent office that reports directly to the parliament instead of the office of the president. This could enable the Ombudsman to be very independent in executing its duties just like the Office of Public Prosecutor in South Africa,” he said.