Lesotho

Lesotho, Namibia, SA judges in controversial recusal decisions

WHEN the Chief Justice of Lesotho, Nthomeng Majara, was officially suspended on 12 September, government named an acting chief justice: Judge Maseforo Mahase.

The next day, through a letter from her legal team, the Chief Justice disputed the legality of the suspension, saying there were two court orders that specifically barred her suspension, and that when she returned from a conference in Australia she intended to return to her office and take up her normal work.

The eight allegations against Lesotho’s Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara, and their context

AFTER it was voted into power the present Maseru government removed the president of the court of appeal, appointed by the previous government, and sought to replace him with Kananelo Mosito, the disgraced former head of the appeal court. However, earlier this year a full bench of judges declared the government acted unlawfully in removing the constitutionally appointed new head of the appeal court, SA Judge Robert Nugent. The court also found the re-appointment of Mosito was unlawful. Since then the court of appeal has effectively ceased to operate in Lesotho.

Recusals in Swaziland and Lesotho: cause for concern?

SEVERAL cases in Swaziland have come to a halt over the last weeks because judges have recused themselves. Their decisions raise the questions whether they were correct to do so in the circumstances, and how litigation can proceed when judicial officers decline to hear a matter.

Without a written judgment on recusal decisions it is not easy to know whether the thinking measures up to constitutional standards, but in at least one case, the judges concerned are to be formally asked for reasons in writing.

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