DC condemns Justice Majara’s suspension.
THE youth league of the opposition Democratic Congress (DC) has accused the government of acting in contempt of court after Prime Minister Thomas Thabane recently suspended Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara from office.
Dr Thabane indefinitely suspended Justice Majara from office with effect from 11 September 2018.
The suspension paves way for a three-member tribunal to try Justice Majara over a litany of misconduct charges including her alleged failure to ensure the timeous delivery of justice.
His Majesty King Letsie III, acting on the advice of Prime Minister Thabane, has since appointed High Court judge, Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase, as the acting Chief Justice. King Letsie III has also appointed three experienced judges from Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe to the tribunal to hear the misconduct charges against Justice Majara.
The three members of the tribunal are Ugandan judge Frederick Egonda-Ntende (who was appointed Seychelles Supreme Court Chief Justice in 2009), Tanzanian judge Augustino S. L. Ramadhoni (who was elected to the African Court on Human and People’s Rights in 2010) and Zimbabwe’s former Minister of Justice and High Court Judge Simbi Mubako.
The suspension comes after Justice Majara had successfully petitioned the courts to interdict Dr Thabane from both suspending her and setting up the tribunal to investigate her.
On Wednesday the Attorney General, Haae Phoofolo, insisted the government had not acted in contempt of court and stood ready to defend its decision before the courts of law.
However, the DC youth league president, Moeketsi Shale, recently held a press conference in Maseru where he said Justice Majara’s suspension was in contempt of court. Mr Shale said government was bent on disregarding the rule of law by suspending Justice Majara even though she had obtained a court order that stopped the Thabane administration from doing so.
“We are concerned by the recurrence of cases of contempt of the courts’ decisions by the government. The latest case is the suspension of Justice Majara. We know that Her Ladyship Chief Justice Majara had sought the intervention of the courts for her suspension but the government has gone on to effect the suspension,” Mr Shale said.
Mr Shale also appealed to the youth and politicians to refrain from disrespecting chiefs.
Mr Shale’s plea comes in the wake of Trade Minister Tefo Mapesela’s attack on the Matsieng Principal Chief, Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso and Chief Lesaoana Peete for attending a BKB wool and mohair auction in Port Elizabeth last week.
Speaking live on a local radio station, Mr Mapesela recently called the chiefs “marenanyana” (loosely translated to mean ‘little chiefs’).
Mr Mapesela said that by accepting the invitation to attend the auction, the chiefs were undermining the government’s decision to ban farmers from selling wool and mohair to without licences.
For over 40 years local farmers have been selling wool and mohair to BKB in South Africa but the government recently put a stop to that by introducing regulations which forbid anyone from exporting wool and mohair without a licence.
The discontented farmers have however, protested the decision and even submitted a petition to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane demanding a reversal of the government position.
“We appeal to the youth and all the people to respect our chiefs. When you disrespect our chiefs, you are disrespecting the nation,” Mr Shale said.
Mr Shale accused the government of making wool and mohair regulations to benefit one foreign company at the expense of local farmers.
“We expect the government not to make policy for the benefit of a particular company. The administration is resolute on being authoritative on who farmers should trade wool and mohair with.
“They are forcing people to sell their commodity to the government’s favourite company. We feel it is very wrong that government advocates for a particular company,” Mr Shale said.