The African Law Service brings diverse commentary on legal developments from across our African continent.
Judge Michael Ramodibedi, who died earlier this month, was appointed to the bench in Lesotho during 1986. During the next years, he also served as a judge in a number of other countries, authoring decisions in the Seychelles and Boswana among others. During 2008 he was elevated to the position of Lesotho’s Court of Appeal president, and at the same time he served on the court of appeal in what is now Eswatini.
Right from the start there is a lot about this case that is troubling. And Judge William Musyoka plunges right in. The case concerns the estate of Joseph Mapesa Nakuku who died in 1988. Bernard Mapesa, one of the sons and administrator of the estate, lodged a petition in the matter, saying he was ‘son of the deceased’.
His proposal was that the entire estate should be shared, unevenly, between himself and another son.
The ongoing crisis in Lesotho's judiciary, involving internal tensions as well as problems between the judiciary and the country's political leadership, has been taken off the boil - at least for now. This follows a last-minute settlement of several high-profile cases that, had they continued, would have destroyed all semblance of judicial independence and were set to create a constitutional crisis.
The conference of the Africa regional bloc of the International Association of Judges gets under way in Cape Town on 2 June 2019. A major theme of the five-day event is judicial independence, as well as factors that impact on the ability of judges to do their work properly - their competence and their welfare for example.
You know the legal community had better wake up and pay proper attention when a country’s highest court makes a comment like this: “It is about time counsel and parties alike appearing before this court took decisions, directions and guidelines issued by it seriously and complied strictly with them.”
This interview was first published in SwazilandNews and is republished here in full for convenience.
MBABANE - "Where the people lose confidence in the courts, then we revert to the survival of the fittest, where the muscular and the armed wield the power over others and cannot be reined in"
Read the judgment on SAFLII
FOR ordinary people across Africa, shaking their heads at the scale of corruption and ethical decline on the continent, the story of South Africa’s former liquidator Enver Motala, once known as Enver Dawood, is like an old morality play, showing the struggle between good and evil and offering a moral lesson.
Jean Louis Sumbu did not gloss over the facts. When he asked Uganda’s Supreme Court to order that he be allowed out on bail pending his last-ditch appeal before that same court he had to explain the whole story.
Sumbu, “a male adult, Congolese, of sound mind”, is 64 and has had a stroke.