Media reports of unlawful home ‘invasion’ by private investigators amount to defamation – Eswatini supreme court        Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 22:31

The Supreme Court of Eswatini has delivered judgment in a most extraordinary defamation case. It concerns the raid on a private home by operatives of a firm of private investigators. They broke into the house where they found a couple asleep, naked, in bed. Then they took distasteful photographs and video as the two people tried desperately to cover themselves. The firm said that they had been hired by the then minister of justice, who was, at the time, involved in a dispute with the man of the couple. But the media that published the first story about the ‘illegal raid’ on the house approached the story as though the couple had been caught doing something unlawful – which they were not. The supreme court has now confirmed the defamation finding of the high court, but has reduced the damages that must be paid. 

'Integrity arm' of State given prominence in new Kenyan decision        Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 12:12

On Valentine’s Day, 2020, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta issued an executive order than brought him no red roses from the country’s human rights bodies. In fact, the order – purporting to ‘re-organise’ government and put various judicial bodies and independent commissions under other state departments and ministries – was the subject of a constitutional challenge brought by the law society of Kenya. Now the high court has decided the petition, and declared that the executive order was unconstitutional and invalid. 

Former Chief Justices join row over Kenya President’s appointment of selected judges only        Friday, June 11, 2021 - 00:02

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed or promoted a number of judges. But not the whole list of 40 nominated by the judicial service commission. Only 34 were sworn in during a ceremony last week, causing strong criticism and strong justification by the President himself. Now two former Chief Justices, Willy Mutunga and David Maraga, have weighed in on the issue as well. Their comments follow criticism by some observers of their successor in office, the new CJ, Martha Koome. That criticism centres round whether her response to the President’s move was adequate.

 

Judicial appointments’ problems spread like a virus        Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 22:28

Like a rampaging judicial virus, political and other problems are infecting the process of appointing judges in a number of African countries. And there’s no vaccine or any other easy solution in sight. Developments in Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Kenya – and then, out of the blue last week, South Africa – all point to serious problems about the process of judicial appointments. Here’s a guide to the symptoms of this particular virus.

Magistrate correct to have woman imprisoned for contempt over child access - Lesotho high court        Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 22:13

A mother was found to have committed contempt of court by disobeying an order about child-access, shared with her ex-husband, and she was sent to prison. She later claimed the magistrate had wrongly ordered her imprisonment and she demanded financial compensation for alleged constitutional damages. But the high court in Lesotho has now found the mother was the one in the wrong, not the magistrate, and applauded the magistrate for protecting the dignity and effectiveness of the courts.