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In a bizarre case, due to be heard in the Namibian courts next week, the country’s defence force is alleged to have taken over the premises of a private shooting club outside the town of Rehoboth just before Christmas. The club says the army changed the locks and warned that the site is now off limits to the public as it is a “military zone” – all of this without notice or warning. The club is fighting back against this military might, by making an application for a spoliation order. Members say unless the dispute is heard urgently, their charitable work in the local community will be decimated and their other club activities will also be halted. The club’s officials claim that the defence force has taken the law into its own hands and that the club’s rights are being violated.
We start the new year with a sensational turn to the high-profile dispute between the Kenyan government and controversial political figure Miguna Miguna: the high court has ordered that six top government and police officials must together personally pay his legal costs in a case testing the validity of his arrest, torture, and deportation. Not just that, the six officials must also jointly pay the Kshs7m Miguna was awarded in damages by the court for the violation of his rights. Miguna was arrested a year ago under dramatic circumstances and twice deported to Canada within a few weeks, despite judicial orders that he be produced before the high court. Those court orders are still being ignored by government officials and Miguna was unable to attend argument in his case as he is still in Canada and prohibited from entering Kenya. Among other shocking allegations the court heard that state agents blew off the doors to Miguna’s house when they first arrested him, and that he was held for days in a toilet cubicle at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport before he was injected with a tranquilizer to subdue him so that he could be deported for a second time.
A provincial magistrate has come under fire from two judges of the high court in Zimbabwe for “conducting himself as a loose cannon” and for not telling the truth to an accused about what the judges had ordered in their review of the original trial court sentence. The magistrate first imposed a hopelessly lenient sentence on a bus driver whose negligence directly caused the death of six people and then misrepresented to the accused the high court’s order on review. The judges said the magistrate’s behaviour was “mind boggling”, that he had been “untruthful”, had “taken leave of his senses” and “embarked on a frolic of his own”. They also ordered that their judgment be brought to the attention of the chief magistrate who was to ensure that the conduct of the magistrate concerned “is not repeated”.
SA’s ex-president, Jacob Zuma, already in hot water with pending corruption charges and a court order that he must personally pay some of his massive legal costs, has again become the target of serious criticism from SA’s Constitutional Court. This time the country’s highest court was considering an application to set aside Zuma’s decision backing the dissolution of the SADC Tribunal, a crucial regional rights forum, based in Windhoek, Namibia. The application also asked that his agreement to a “protocol” establishing an effectively toothless body, barred from considering petitions from individuals, be declared invalid. The court said Zuma had the duty to uphold rights, not abandon them, as he had done in this case, and ordered that his presidential ratification of the “protocol” be withdrawn.