Chief Justices’ Forum blasts government

Chief Justices’ Forum blasts government

MASERU- THE Southern African Chief Justices’ Forum (SACJF) has condemned the manner in which the government of Lesotho is treating Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara. The attack comes after the Prime Minister’s Office sent a letter to Justice Majara listing a number of alleged acts of misconduct by the judge. The letter could pave way for the setting up of a tribunal to investigate the question of her removal from Office of the Chief Justice.

In a letter dated May 7, 2018, the SACJF said it affirms the principle of independence, impartiality and accountability of the judiciary without which there cannot be effective separation of powers. It also says the principle of separation of powers provides society with the checks and balances necessary for maintenance of a democratic system of government.

The SACJF also affirms the principles of equality before the law as sacrosanct for the maintenance of public confidence in the administration of justice. “The SACFJ therefore urges the authorities in the Kingdom of Lesotho to ensure that the matter involving Chief Justice Majara is handled in accordance with the principles of natural justice and due process,” the letter partly reads. It further says the SACFJ also encourages the authorities in Lesotho to ensure that the Chief Justice is accorded all her rights including the right to be represented by counsel of her choice.

Above all, the matter needs to be handled in accordance with the law and in a way that preserves the independence, integrity and dignity of the courts, the letter says. It warns the government against undermining the principle of separation of powers and the rule of law.
“Public confidence in the judicial system and in the moral authority and integrity of the judiciary is of the utmost importance in a modern democratic society,” the letter says.

The SACFJ say it stands ready to offer its counsel to the authorities to help in resolving this matter.
SACFJ is a voluntary association of Chief Justices from countries in East and Southern Africa which was formed in 2005.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Africa judges and jurists is currently in the country on a fact-finding mission with regard to Lesotho’s judiciary.
This delegation is meeting with all relevant stakeholders in the administration of justice in the country.

Majara Molupe

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