Judicial review

Zambian statesman Kenneth Kaunda ‘not an ordinary person’ – high court

The family of Zambia’s first president, Kenneth Kaunda, approached a high court judge with an application to set aside the government’s decision for a state funeral and a two-stage burial for Kaunda, who died in June. The judge, Wildred Muma, refused the application. Though most readers know that he said, as part of his decision, that Kaunda was ‘not an ordinary person’, little is known about the legal reasons he gave for rejecting the application.

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Judge Wilfred Kopa Muma, appointed to the high court in 2019, heard the matter in his chambers, even as preparations for the official burial in Embassy Park were being completed.

Newborn twins born to gay parents, in maze over Namibian citizenship

The Namibian high court has ruled that it cannot order the government to issue emergency travel documents for newborn twins to come into the country. The babies were born to a South African surrogate mother. Their fathers, married in South Africa, are a Namibian and a Mexican. The babies have birth certificates, issued by the SA authorities, indicating that the Namibian is the father of the children. However, the Namibian minister of home affairs and immigration is insisting on a DNA test before any official documents will be issued for the twins.

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From Namibia’s high court comes a story, rather like The Terminal, a movie in which a man is stuck in an airport for months, refused entry into the USA yet unable to return to his home country because of a coup there.

Don’t use “constitution” as a “mantra”, Malawi’s supreme court warns

Malawi’s former agriculture minister, George Chaponda, was a key figure in that country’s “Maizegate” scandal around the importation of maize from Zambia to replenish stocks that had allegedly fallen low. Public criticism of apparent corruption led to a presidential commission of inquiry and then to high court action to have Chaponda stand down during the inquiry. Though the high court initially ordered Chaponda’s suspension, the supreme court has just ruled that it was wrong to do so, and that the judge had ignored binding precedent.

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When Malawi was gripped by a maize shortage scare a few years ago the government arranged to buy more from Zambia. But allegations of corruption soon followed against George Chaponda, then minister responsible for agriculture, as well as other officials in Malawi and in Zambia.

So great was the public outcry that a presidential commission of inquiry was established to investigate.  

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