Constitutional Court

Supply doctors, health workers with protection, court tells Lesotho government

Doctors in Lesotho have won a major constitutional battle. They brought a case against the country’s minister of health, the minister of finance and the minister of public service, among others, claiming that their constitutional rights had been infringed in a number of ways. In particular they said they were not being provided with proper personal protective equipment (PPE). They were also unhappy because long-established supplementary payments to them had been cut off by government, all in the name of shortage of funds.

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There’s one thing any reader of this judgment will ask – who would want to work as a doctor in Lesotho right now? And the answer must be that very few outsiders would put their hands up to serve there, under present conditions.

Controversial Lesotho PM prorogues Parliament, gets taken to court

Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Tom Thabane, has signed papers suspending parliament for three months. He cited the coronavirus pandemic to explain his decision. Ironically, a full-on legal application contesting the validity of his Covid-19-based decision, was heard in a virtually empty court due to steps aimed at containing spread of the disease. But the case also marked a significant step for the country’s broadcaster which, for the first time, carried a court hearing live on national television and radio.

 

When Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane wrote to King Letsie III on March 20, explaining why he wanted parliament to be suspended, he said it was a necessary part of the fight against the coronavirus.

He cited the World Health Organisation which advises against large gatherings to help avoid spread of the virus.

Statute vs Statue: when judges become art critics

Kenya’s constitution says that the currency of that country ‘shall not’ bear the 'portrait' of any individual. So, when new bank notes were issued earlier this year, depicting the Kenyatta International Convention Centre with Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, clearly distinguishable, seated alongside the building, the question arose whether the new notes were constitutional. Two of the presiding judges felt they had to solve the legal conundrum by deciding whether the bank notes bore a ‘portrait’ of Kenyatta  - or if it was just a picture of a statue.

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The sharp-eyed petitioners in this case were former MP and now legislator in the East African Assembly, Simon Mbugua, with the director of Kenyans for Justice and Development, Okiya Okoiti. They challenged the constitutionality of the new bank notes for their depiction of the man regarded as the founder of modern Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta.

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