Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) President, Khumoekae Richard has demanded that Parliament retract a letter threatening action against him over involvement in politics or he will proceed with a legal suit. Through his lawyer Mboki Chilisa of Collins Chilisa Consultant Richard warned that failure to retract the letter a legal action would be instituted against Parliament in the event that any action detrimental to Richard in pursuance of the said letter is taken.
“In amplification, our client has a long standing political reputation known to yourselves prior to his appointment and assumption of duty. It is his political involvement and experience thereof that motivated his appointment to serve under the Member of Parliament Dr Phenyo Butale whose job is in its very nature political. Additionally, the direct correlation or link between our client’s tenure and that of the aforementioned Member of Parliament as specified in our client’s contract of employment is indicatory of the fact that he is exempt from the impugned provision of the Public Service Act and that it is in his best interest that he promote the interests of this Member, which in many instances involves political participation”, stated Chilisa in the letter.
The attorney further contended that the said restriction is in essence unconstitutional as it serves no legitimate purpose and is not reasonably justifiable in a democratic society. “It serves to impede our client from effectively discharging his duties, which as already established are political in nature,” said Chilisa, adding, “it would therefore defeat the very import of his job to place upon him and any other officer serving in similar capacity the restriction under Section 5 (5) of the Public Service Act.”Parliament through office of Clerk of National Assembly wrote the said letter of the 3rd June 2016 after the Botswana Democratic Party Youth Wing expressed worry that Richard continues to serve as a public servant while he holds a political office.
Clerk of National Assembly in the letter gave notice that due to Richard’s and or other active involvement in partisan politics contrary to Section 5 (5) of the Public Service Act,appropriate action would be taken against them. The complaint came a few days after Richard was voted the BNFYL President in Mahalapye. Richard is a Senior Administration Officer/ Researcher at the Gaborone Central Constituency Office.
BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane said they await to see if action would be taken against Richard if he does not resign. “The law is the law and must be complied with. It cannot make an exception because an individual is leader of the BNFYL and therefore wants to have his cake and eat it. We trust Parliament to act accordingly”. Parliament Acting Corporate Services Manager Nametso Sephephe had not responded to our enquiries at press time.