Foreign judges on Lesotho bench slam political interference in judicial appointments
THREE foreign judges, invited to sit on Lesotho’s high court, have delivered a damning decision on attempts by that country’s prime minister to appoint his preferred candidate as appeal court president. As Carmel Rickard explains, jurist and legal academic Kananelo Mosito, who had once headed Lesotho’s apex court, was impeached for misconduct and dismissed under a previous government. When the country’s leadership changed last year, however, the incoming prime minister summarily removed the new appeal court president and installed Mosito once again.
Namibian Supreme Court outlaws ultra-long prison sentences
IN an important new decision, Namibia’s highest court has held that judges in that country may not impose jail terms that are “longer than a life sentence”. Prisoners serving life may be considered for possible parole after 25 years, and the Supreme Court has now held that any sentence in which parole is not at least notionally possible after 25 years, would be unconstitutional.
Uganda: Judicial Independence Reaffirmed
JUDGES of Uganda’s constitutional court have come to the rescue of two judicial colleagues, finding that the statutory five-year limited term of office of the industrial court bench undermined judicial independence and was unconstitutional and therefore invalid.
2017 saw many challenges for judiciaries in Africa, including a number of threats from the executive, electoral difficulties and political instability, as well as many examples of extraordinary judicial independence and courage. Some examples that come to mind are the Kenyan Constitutional Court’s decision to nullify the elections ; Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice and JSC’s fearless defence of the system of judicial appointments; The Seychelles Appeal Court judges speaking truth even when it involved one of their own; Malawi trying its first case under their new Gender Equality Act; Zambia grappling with balancing the rights of traditional culture, freedom of religion and international law and constitutional obligations and Uganda fleshing out the issue of the awarding of cost orders in Constitutional matters under the new constitution.