Constitutionalism and Human Rights

This channel aggregates information on constitutionalism, constitution-making, constitutional reform, human rights and democracy issues in Africa. We curate and feature legal developments, caselaw and legislation, scholarly commentary, blogs, and columns.

Current contributors

Carmel Rickard

Legal Columnist.
Editor in Chief of the Newsletter of the Judicial Institute for Africa at UCT

Since she began working as a journalist in 1981, Carmel Rickard has specialised in writing about legal affairs. She has won widespread recognition (local and international) as well as a number of awards for her work, and in 1992/3 was awarded a Nieman Fellowship to Harvard.

Resources

Channel content

Secularism in Ghana "obviously" encourages state accommodation of religion and religious identity - Supreme Court

Read the judgment

As part of Ghana’s 60th anniversary celebrations in 2017, the president, Nana Akufo-Addo, turned the first sod for a major national symbolic structure – the Ghana National Cathedral. To be funded by individuals and organisations within the Christian community, the cathedral is said by the government to be a priority project. But it is not without its critics.

Reaction to shock suspension of Nigeria's Chief Justice

International and local outrage has followed the shock suspension of Nigeria’s chief justice, Walter Onnoghen, by the country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari on January 25, 2019.

Lawyers across Nigeria held a two-day protest against what they termed the “illegal suspension” of the CJ, boycotting the courts for the duration of the demonstration. The protest was called for by the Nigerian Bar Association following a national emergency meeting called to consider the suspension, and it was widely observed.

Namibian lawyer tells national police chief: protect my client against abduction, rendition by Zim police  

A prominent legal firm in Namibia has written to that country’s inspector general of police asking for action to protect a senior Zimbabwe opposition figure, Chalton Hwende, on holiday in Namibia. Human rights lawyer, Norman Tjombe, told Jifa that his client, still safe in Namibia at the moment, had received credible information that members of Zimbabwe’s intelligence agency, the much-feared Central Intelligence Organisation, had arrived in Namibia intent on abducting him and taking him back to Zimbabwe.

Death penalty overturned for woman who murdered, dismembered husband

Read judgment here

The facts of the case before Uganda’s Supreme Court were just about as bad as they could be.

The accused murdered her 65-year-old husband and when family and others asked where he was she pretended that she did not know. She even told their daughter that he “had other women” and might be with one of them.

Villagers' water pollution case should be heard in UK not Zambia, court hears

FOR almost 2000 villagers in Zambia’s Chingola region, this was a crucial week. A two-day hearing in the English courts could see them finally able to act against the mining outfit they claim has, since 2005, polluted their water and damaged their health, their lands and any prospect of earning a living.

Why Zambia's highest court found President Edgar Lungu eligible to serve another term

Read judgment on ZambiaLII here

 

IN a recent case testing whether Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu may lawfully stand for a third term in 2021, that country’s highest court had something to say about the problem of threats to the judiciary “related to matters before court” - though the judges did not say whom they had in mind.

Lesotho: New judgment reinstates Mosito

 

THE decision, delivered on Friday morning by the highest court in Lesotho, was entirely predictable given the tone of questioning and discussion in court during the hearing earlier in the week.

Lesotho’s Court of Appeal has not been operating for some time as the judicial crisis surrounding the head of that court has played out, but five acting judges, headed by former Zambian judge, Philip Musonda, were appointed to hear this matter.

Kenya: Time for courts to develop judicial review as “constitutional supervision of power” - judge

WHEN a court begins its decision with a hymn to the values of the constitution and the rule of law, I would expect to find the judge is about to do something unusual or significant.

Did this happen in the recently-decided case of the Speaker of the senate against two limited liability companies? You be the judge.

Before he even began to explain the facts of the case, though, Judge Mativo, who presided in the matter, spent three paragraphs on the significance of the law, justice and the rule of law in a modern, changing society.  

Pages