This is not  about politics

This is not about politics

THE Law Society of Lesotho last week called for a boycott of all court proceedings in protest over an unprecedented decision by the government to suspend the April session of the Court of Appeal.
The decision, which has not received universal endorsement from all lawyers, is the clearest indication that all is not well within our justice system.
Of course, that is a no-brainer. We all know that the problems within our justice system have received acres and acres of space within our newspapers over the last 10 years or so.
This is a justice system that has hobbled from crisis to crisis over the years with no sign that successive governments had enough appetite or the wherewithal to resolve the judicial crisis.

Former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili was accused of hounding out Justice Kananelo Mosito from the presidency of the Court of Appeal in what critics said was a naked attempt to capture the judiciary.
And so when Mosisili lost power to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane in 2017, we were not surprised to see Justice Mosito bouncing back at the Palace of Justice.
But if Thabane thought that Justice Mosito would be a poodle who would dance to his tune, then he was in for a rude awakening.
The “good judge” did not waste any time to show whoever cared to listen that he was his own man when he ruled in Professor Nqosa Mahao’s favour in a bitter contest for the ABC’s deputy presidency.
It appears it was that decision that has infuriated a faction of the ruling party that is aligned to Thabane. The decision to suspend the April session of the Court of Appeal must be understood against that background.

While the Law Society of Lesotho argues that it has no dog in this fight and is only concerned with the impact such a closure will have on the justice delivery system, we believe the real issue has everything to do with the ABC leadership wrangle.
That matter has become the biggest elephant in the room.
In fact, there is a perception that the session was suspended to torpedo plans by the Mahao group take the case to the Court of Appeal. If that is true, then it would suggest that our justice system is in serious trouble.
In fact, there is already a perception that Acting Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase has stalled on delivering judgment on the case at the behest of politicians. While that has not been proved, it is still a perception altogether.

The onus is on the judge to prove her critics wrong by delivering judgment on the ABC saga. By indefinitely postponing the matter, the judge merely postponed a problem and fed into the suspicion that she might have a dog in this fight.
It is our fervent hope that this is not true.
It would be an understatement to say the decision to suspend the Court of Appeal session has not gone down well with the Law Society and ordinary Basotho. The truth is that people are incensed.
While this brouhaha goes on, there is always a danger that our judges might narrow down the problems of the judiciary to current politics. That would be tragic.
We believe there are hundreds of Basotho whose lives have been put on hold merely because the Court of Appeal is not going to sit this month.
That is where the tragedy of this whole matter lies. This is not just about politics. That decision involves people’s lives.

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