Kenya's apex court confirms 'novel' rights of victim's counsel        Friday, September 18, 2020 - 10:59

A man accused of murdering a student has helped make new law. That's because of the significant judgment issued by Kenya's Supreme Court after he tried to stop counsel for the deceased student becoming involved in the trial. Joseph Waswa, charged with killing Mitch Kibiti Barasa, said that his fair trial rights were infringed when the trial court allowed counsel for Barasa to play a role in the matter. But the Supreme Court has now put him right. The country's highest court has ruled that the Victim Protection Act, the constitution and international law all support the right of victims to be represented by counsel in court - and that counsel may even be allowed to ask questions of the witnesses.

Controversial Ugandan retired military officer loses court bid to prevent arrest during election run-up        Friday, September 18, 2020 - 00:37

An increasingly contentious figure in Uganda, retired military general Henry Tumukunde, has just tried – and failed – to invoke judicial help against persistent police action targeted at him. Tumukunde, a once close ally of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, plans to contest the presidential position in next year’s elections. But during the run-up to the elections, he has become a person of considerable interest to the police and the army, and he has been arrested several times. His latest court action was for a temporary interdict to prevent the police from arresting him and violating his constitutional rights.

Sewage is ‘not a public friend’        Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 21:51

A broken sewerage pipe in the capital of Malawi has led to a successful claim for damages under the country’s consumer protection legislation. The pipe broke but when it was not initially fixed by the authorities, sewage found its way into the pipe that supplied clean water for drinking and other household use. Consumers then formed a neighbourhood action group to monitor the quality of the drinking water, and to bring legal action for compensation.

Litigation in Lesotho as King declines to appoint judges        Thursday, September 10, 2020 - 23:00

Many people in the legal world will be aware of the looming constitutional crisis in Kenya where the President, Uhuru Kenyatta, has refused to appoint a number of judges whose names were presented to him by the Judicial Service Commission. Fewer, however, will have been aware that a similar problem has arisen in Lesotho and that litigation is now pending to test whether the King – Lesotho is a constitutional monarchy – may refuse to approve the appointment of candidates proposed by the commission.

Court finds against ‘back door emergency’ in Malawi        Thursday, September 10, 2020 - 16:21

A constitutional court in Malawi has delivered an unequivocal condemnation of that country’s Covid-19 lockdown regulations. In its decision last week, the three judges found that the rules were unconstitutional as they were made in terms of a law that did not permit such rules to be made. They also criticised the government for imposing a lockdown without concern for the poor of Malawi who would not have access to food and other essentials if they could not leave their homes. The judge urged parliament to pass new legislation as soon as possible, that would allow the regulations needed in a national health emergency such as the current pandemic.