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Lessons for Covid-19 from HIV response: don’t forget vulnerable groups - women, the unemployed – and sexual minorities

In a webinar this week, arranged by UNAIDS and the SADC-Lawyers Association, speakers teased out what could be learned from the response to HIV as countries struggled to manage the impact of Covid-19 on people’s safety.

Speaking at the start of an online seminar co-hosted by the SADC Lawyers Association and UNAIDS, president of SADC-LA, Max Boqwana, must have startled some of the large, international audience. The webinar, staged earlier this week, was slated to consider an important issue for the strange times we are now living in: what lessons learned from the HIV response would be useful for the present, and in particular for the impact of Covid-19 on social justice, protection and promotion of human rights and the prevention of gender-based violence?

Tanzania must overhaul its oppressive media law after court scraps appeal

The Tanzanian government has suffered yet another blow to its efforts at curbing free expression: it has lost its appeal against a declaration of invalidity of key elements of a law that had given it wide-ranging powers to stifle the media. Earlier this week, the appellate tribunal of the East African Court of Justice dismissed the government’s attempts to appeal, saying the appeal had not been filed within the time limits set by the court.  

Read judgment of the appeal court

Read judgment of the trial court


‘Limping and irrational’ decision overturned on appeal by East African Court

A strange application brought to the East African Court of Justice by Burundi has completely unraveled. Burundi had argued that the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly was not properly elected. Failing before the trial court, Burundi challenged the court’s decision - only to have its legal team slated on appeal. Not just that: the initial costs order was overturned and Burundi must now pay the legal costs of both the trial and the appeal.

Read the judgment

Apart from the outcome itself, this appellate judgment of the East African Court of Justice has three interesting ‘moments’, including two where the court does not hesitate to criticise counsel involved in the dispute before it.

Judge Chifundo Kachale's appointment to head Malawi electoral commission welcomed

Regional media are falling over themselves to praise and welcome the appointment of Judge Chifundo Kachale as the new head of Malawi’s electoral commission. Judge Kachale was named by President Peter Mutharika last weekend along with the rest of the commission – some new names and some old. Judge Kachale takes over from Judge Jane Ansah whose commission came in for scathing criticism by the country’s supreme court for its handling of the now-discredited 2019 elections.

Despite criticism by the high court that initially found the 2019 elections defective, the head of Malawi’s electoral commission, Judge Jane Ansah refused to stand down. She steadily maintained she would not quit saying she and her commission had carried out their work properly. But on May 21 the inevitable happened: Judge Ansah resigned and the commission was left without a leader.

Justice Modibo Tounty Guindo of Mali and the African Court RIP

A veteran of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Judge Modibo Tounty Guindo, has died. He was among the group of judges that first set up the African Court when it began operations in 2006, and he served as that court’s first Vice President. At the time of his death he was a member of the constitutional court in his home country of Mali.

Justice Modibo Tounty Guindo, one of the African Court’s first senior judges, has died. He was 66.

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights announced the death of Justice Guindo of Mali earlier this week, saying that he had died on Thursday, 4 June, following a short illness.

Regional court upholds freedom of expression, media freedom

The Tanzanian government, seen as oppressive in its attitude to a number of democratic freedoms including freedom of expression and free media, has lost a significant battle at the East African Court of Justice. The EACJ, which resolves disputes involving the East African Community and its member states, was approached by the newspaper, Mseto, after the Tanzanian government suspended it from all operations for three years. First, the EACJ trial court held that the suspension was unlawful.

Read judgment from the East African Court of Justice, trial court 

Read judgment from the East African Court of Justice, appeal court

Copyright & A2K Issues - 5 June 2020

This is a free online international Information Service covering various topics, including copyright, plagiarism and other IP matters, Open Access, open publishing, open learning resources, institutional repositories, scholarly communication, digitization and library matters, mobile technologies, issues affecting access to knowledge (A2K), particularly in developing countries; WTO and WIPO treaties and matters; Free Trade Agreements and TRIPS Plus; u


Intellectual Property:

Blind SA goes to ConCourt in effort to compel the President to sign Copyright Amendment Bill

Copyright Bill is a Gateway to Accessible Knowledge and Creativity, not American Roulette

Covid-19: A double whammy for the blind

Namibian paralegal's 'naked failure' to be admitted as attorney

A Namibian paralegal is rapidly notching up entries in the index of his country's law reports. In May alone, Alex Mabuku Kamwi featured in two decided cases. In one he was given leave to appeal because of a recusal issue. In the other he tried, a fourth time, for admission as an attorney - only to meet with what Judge Thomas Masuku called, a 'naked failure'. This was because the qualifications on which he bases his fight for admission are not recognised for this purpose by the Namibian law.

Read judgment in Kamwi v Standard Bank

Read judgment in Ex parte, Kamwi

While the difficult question of recusal continues to plague courts in the region, a most bizarre case raising the matter has emerged in Namibia.

Court orders huge payout for former CEO of Zambia Railways

One of Zambia’s internationally best-known figures has been awarded huge damages by the high court following his sacking by the late Zambian President, Michael Sata. Clive Chirwa had been head-hunted by Sata to return to Zambia and take over as CEO of Zambia Railways. Just three months into the five-year contract, however, he was fired. He was told that he was being ‘retired in the public interest’. But Chirwa’s contract stipulated he was to be paid for the full five years if the contract were to be terminated for any reason other than ‘disciplinary’.

Read judgment

Judge Lebohang Aaron Molete of Lesotho RIP

A senior member of the judiciary in Lesotho, Lebohang Aaron Molete, has died. He was 61. In 2010 Judge Molete was appointed as a member of the commercial court. He also sat in several significant cases as a member of a specially constituted three-person constitutional panel. He died following a stroke that had left him suffering significant complications.  

Judge Lebohang Aaron Molete, 61, a specialist in commercial law, died in Lesotho last weekend.

A report of his death in Newsworth noted  that he died on his way to hospital. Family member, Advocate Mohale Thipe, said that Judge Molete had been suffering ‘complications’ with his health.