Zimbabwean magistrate fired

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A ZIMBABWEAN employed as a senior magistrate in Botswana’s Mahalapye Court has been fired for resisting being transferred from his current station to the capital Gaborone.

STAFF REPORTER

The Botswana weekly, The Standard, reported yesterday that senior magistrate Austin Sibanda was summarily dismissed last Friday for allegedly refusing to be transferred.

Sibanda, who has served as a magistrate in several courts across Botswana, among them Tsabong and Palapye, was supposed to have reported for duty at the Village Magistrate Court in Gaborone on February 3 this year, but it appears he never did, resulting in his dismissal from the Department of Administration of Justice.

Sibanda gained prominence in 2010 when a Hukuntsi farmer Ookame Lekaukau sued him for unlawful detention.

At the time, Lekaukau had sought P425 000 from Sibanda as compensation for his unlawful incarceration.

In his court papers, Lekaukau had stated that while appearing for routine remand before Sibanda’s court on stocktheft charges in Kang, the magistrate had ordered the cancellation of his bail after his Gaborone-based lawyer did not turn up due to ill health.
Efforts to get comment on Sibanda’s dismissal from his supervisors proved futile.

The receptionist at the High Court head office in Gaborone told the media that all public relations practitioners were not in the office.

The Mahalapye principal magistrate could also not be reached for comment.

Sibanda told The Standard that as a foreigner, he was not comfortable giving interviews to newspapers.

“Please morena, I am a foreigner, as such I do not want to talk to newspapers. Please respect me for that,” Sibanda was quoted as saying.