Swaziland

Former judge Michael Ramodibedi RIP

The most controversial judge in the SADC region over the last several decades, Justice Michael Ramodibedi, has died. Judge Ramodibedi, 74, died in Johannesburg but the cause of death has not been confirmed. He leaves his wife and five children. Among other positions, the judge served as Chief Justice of what is now known as Eswatini, and as president of the court of appeal in his home country, Lesotho. He left the bench in both countries under a cloud of disgrace.

Judge Michael Ramodibedi, who died earlier this month, was appointed to the bench in Lesotho during 1986. During the next years, he also served as a judge in a number of other countries, authoring decisions in the Seychelles and Boswana among others. During 2008 he was elevated to the position of Lesotho’s Court of Appeal president, and at the same time he served on the court of appeal in what is now Eswatini.  

Taking pleasure in making justice accessible to the powerless – Judge Thomas Masuku

WHEN Judge Thomas Masuku was effectively expelled as a judge in Swaziland during 2011, human rights organisations said he had been the victim of a kangaroo court that breached international standards on fair trial.

This interview was first published in SwazilandNews and is republished here in full for convenience. 

MBABANE - "Where the people lose confidence in the courts, then we revert to the survival of the fittest, where the muscular and the armed wield the power over others and cannot be reined in" 

Bank 'secrecy' ruling a blow for transparency, media freedom

The High Court of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) has upheld and defended the secrecy surrounding that country's central bank. The court had been asked by the governor of the central bank for an interdict preventing a local newspaper from reporting on a leaked confidential document relating to Farmer Bank, Eswatini's newest financial institution. When the Times asked the governor a number of questions relating to the central bank's investigations on whether to grant the banking licence, he demanded an undertaking that 'the report' would not be published.

Read judgment

Swaziland (now Eswatini) is hardly known as a land where transparency and free speech enjoy much value. Now the country's High Court has helped maintain this reputation with a decision effectively closing down media investigation into the people behind Eswatini's new Farmers Bank.

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