The African Law Service brings diverse commentary on legal developments from across our African continent.
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.
Read the judgment on TanzLII
As the rest of Tanzania was getting ready for year-end celebrations in December 2017, six people in the Mwanza region found themselves in deep trouble. Instead of spending time at home over the holiday they were in jail, after being arrested in relation to drugs charges. The six now find themselves charged under the Drug Control and Enforcement Act with trafficking in “precursor chemicals”.
From her many years as a judicial officer – a magistrate, a high court judge at national level and many more years as a judge at the international level – you might think that former Botswana judge, Sanji Monageng has little left to learn. But you would be wrong. If there is one thing that struck her during the Jifa Core Skills training week it was this: every teaching experience is an opportunity to learn, and this week was no exception.
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One of the most gripping legal matters in Malawi is the trial of 12 accused charged with murdering Macdonald Masambuka, 22. Masambuka went missing last year and his body was eventually found several weeks later, dismembered and buried.
Marvin Baryaruha is a familiar figure to Ugandan readers. Everyone else might benefit from a brief introduction: formerly legal officer of the Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra), Baryaruha was fingered by the Court of Appeal’s Justice Catherine Bamugemereire when she reported on her 2015/16 commission of inquiry into the country’s national roads authority.
Justice Joseph Wowo, originally of Nigeria, was jailed on corruption charges in January 2014. His trial was seen by many as involving trumped-up charges and he has now won a kind of vindication via the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).
In a special statement, the Ecowas court has announced that it has ordered Gambia to pay $200 000 in “nominal damages” to Justice Wowo. Unfortunately, however, no judgment has been released that explains the court's decision.
It made a great splash in the media when Ugandan civil servant Stephen Kisembo was arrested and charged with spying for Sudan. When the high court of Uganda acquitted him recently, however, not so much.