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EswatiniLII
Eswatini
EswatiniLII
eswatinilii.org
GhaLII
Ghana
GhaLII
ghalii.org
Kenya Law
Kenya
Kenya Law
kenyalaw.org
LesothoLII
Lesotho
LesothoLII
lesotholii.org
MalawiLII
Malawi
MalawiLII
malawilii.org
Mauritius
MauritiusLII
mauritiuslii.org
NamibLII
Namibia
NamibLII
namiblii.org
Rwanda
RwandaLII
rwandalii.org
SierraLII
Sierra Leone
SierraLII
sierralii.org
SeyLII
Seychelles
SeyLII
seylii.org
LawLibrary
South Africa
LawLibrary
lawlibrary.org.za
TanzLII
Tanzania
TanzLII
tanzlii.org
ULII
Uganda
ULII
ulii.org
ZambiaLII
Zambia
ZambiaLII
zambialii.org
ZanzibarLII
Zanzibar
ZanzibarLII
zanzibarlii.org
ZimLII
Zimbabwe
ZimLII
zimlii.org

Latest Commentary

Uganda’s president chastises chief justice over litigation outcome, orders action to rectify matters: profession divided over response

It took time to get going, but a letter by Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni (pictured) to the country’s chief justice has sparked a row that shows no sign of blowing over. The letter complained about a court decision and urged that the CJ should take action in the wake of that decision. The letter, written in December 2023, dealt with a visit to Museveni by one of the parties to a court case, and castigated the CJ for the decision taken by a member of the judiciary in relation to the case. Though there was initially no public reaction from the CJ, the judiciary and other members of the profession, the matter blew up more than a month later, in a way that adds to growing concern about the health of judicial independence in Uganda.

Changes needed on how Zim police deal with vernacular witness statements – court

A controversial Zimbabwean high court judge, Munamato Mutevedzi, has strongly criticised the way police handle statements by potential witnesses. In a recent judgment, Mutevedzi discussed what he said was a matter of concern arising from ‘many criminal trials handled in the courts’.  He said witnesses would make statements in the vernacular. These were then translated into English by the police, with the witness signing the English version, even though he or she had no idea of what the English statement said or meant. This was a ‘misrepresentation’ that could amount to an ‘illegality’, Mutevedzi said. Sometimes, the police even signed the statement themselves, purporting to be the witness. He said the frequency with which witnesses came to court and claimed ‘misrepresentations’ of their statements to the police, had convinced the courts that ‘something untoward’ was happening during the recording of statements. Among his suggestions for dealing with the problem, Mutevedzi urged that police keep the original vernacular statements by witnesses, and that statements in the vernacular be translated by certified translators or interpreters.

Kenya’s judicial leaders issue strong re-statement of judicial independence

Judicial independence in Kenya has been under some serious threats recently, particularly from the president, William Ruto, and other members of government. Threats to judicial independence are a problem in other countries as well and the judiciary sometimes seems to take refuge in silence on this issue. However, this week, following a consultative meeting involving the heads of all the country’s courts, Kenya’s top judges issued a wide-ranging statement, dealing with judicial independence, as well as claims of corruption in the judiciary, and ways in which the courts could improve to offer a better service to the public.

Top court of Seychelles delivers major environmental law decision on state responsibility for pollution cleanup

An environmental law decision by the highest court in Seychelles has found that the state has a constitutional responsibility to clean up pollution of public places like rivers and beaches and that it might be liable for damages in some cases. The decision, likely to be hugely influential, was delivered by the court of appeal in response to a claim by private applicants that the state had not acted to deal with the serious E.coli pollution of a river. While the state argued that it was not constitutionally obliged to act in such a case, the court of appeal has declared that it does indeed have such an obligation, and that failure to act could lead to claims for damages.

Misreporting could add to tensions between judiciary, executive in Kenya

A recent high court decision in Kenya about the government’s failure to make a decision on whether to grant a citizenship application, has been incorrectly reported in some of the media in that country. The case concerned a man who lost his Kenyan citizenship when he took UK citizenship as a child. Now that the law has changed to allow dual citizenship he has applied for Kenyan citizenship. But after sitting with the matter for five years, the authorities have still not made their decision. The court held it did not have power itself to grant citizenship to the applicant, but gave the authorities six months to make their decision and inform the applicant of the outcome. However, reports in the media say the court ordered the grant of citizenship. It’s a serious mistake, particularly at this time when dangerous tension exists between Kenya’s judicial and executive arms.

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