Separation of powers

Judges critical of Lesotho Parliament's work, punt constitutional changes

Lesotho’s current political bosses – and the country’s economy – have been dealt a new blow. The high court of Lesotho, sitting as a constitutional court, has ruled that plans for dealing with repayment of generous government-guaranteed loans made to two categories of officials, are discriminatory and unconstitutional. Everyone who was given such a loan will now have to be treated in the same way, with the government paying all remaining loans back to the bank, in full.

African Judges Presiding over African Presidents

WHEN SA high court judge Themba Sishi entered the historic court room in the east coast city of Durban to preside in the corruption case of former president Jacob Zuma, he became one of a select few judges required to try an African president.

Zuma is now to have his day in court, after years of legal action to prevent that day from ever arriving. The charges relate to a multi-billion US dollar arms deal struck by SA and from which he is alleged to have profited corruptly via bribes paid to him by Schabir Shaik, a businessman already convicted and sentenced for bribery.

Ugandan Judge Sues Attorney-General

IN the struggle to ensure judicial independence judges sometimes have to take extraordinary steps. Over the last six months however none can have been more unusual than the litigation by Ugandan high court judge Joseph Murangira, which saw the judge suing Uganda’s attorney-general.

The case, heard in the country’s constitutional court, came out of a settlement order finalized by the judge. One of the parties to that dispute was a government department, and when the agreed amount was due to be paid, the Public Accounts Committee of parliament ordered the judge to appear before it and justify his decision. When he refused to do so the parliamentary committee made a report against him that was adopted by parliament, “purporting to veto” his decision in the high court.

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