CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

Court ruling poses Lesotho elections dilemma

Lesotho’s October 7 election date suddenly appears at risk. The date was announced by the country’s Independent Electoral Commission in July, but a new decision of the constitutional court has found that the delimitation of 20 constituencies doesn’t pass constitutional muster, because the range in voter numbers is larger or smaller than the 10% variation constitutionally prescribed. The decision, delivered on August 8, puts the IEC under enormous pressure and it might not be possible to redraw constituencies in time for the elections.

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A new judgment by Lesotho’s high court has left the country’s Independent Electoral Commission in a quandary: how to satisfy election timetables at the same time as fixing invalid constituency delimitations so that they fall within the bounds of the constitution.

Malawi paralegal investigation given go-ahead by court

The Malawi law society has lost the first round in its battle over turf: it had asked the high court to squash an investigation being planned by the legal affairs committee of the national assembly. The investigation could see a recommendation that paralegals be allowed to defend certain cases in the magistrates’ courts. However, Judge Mike Tembo refused to stop the inquiry, and said the action reminded the court ‘of the colonial days … in which the law severely limited black people’s political participation’.


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The case was brought by the Malawi law society (MLS) that asked the high court to consider whether hearings planned by the legal affairs committee (LAC) of parliament were legal. The hearings would be to investigate proposed law amendments that might allow paralegals to appear and play a limited role in the lower courts.

Court finds Kenya’s new tax law unconstitutional; calls government’s ‘vaccine’ for ‘virus’ of non- tax payments, ‘inappropriate’

Kenya’s high court has declared a controversial new tax law unconstitutional. The proposed new law would have seen taxpayers paying tax on gross turnover when they declared a loss or not enough profit to be billed for income tax. The government wanted the new law providing for a minimum tax to help state finances after Covid-19’s incursions on the fiscus. The decision is to go on appeal, but in the meantime the new tax cannot be levied.

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Kenya’s high court judge, David Odunga, had already suspended the newly introduced law, saying in April that it should be kept on ice until the dispute over its unconstitutionality had been argued and decided.

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