Courts in limbo as Judiciary faces judge’s shortage

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…Deaths of judges and old age retirement widens gaps on the bench

By Itumeleng Koleile

An ongoing case concerning a treason case against Lesotho Congress for Democracy leader Mothejoa Metsing and Movement for Economic Change leader Selibe Mochoboroane was Monday postponed due to shortage of Judges.

A judge who had been handling the case, justice Semapo Peete is set to retire from the bench on August 31 and the sensational August 30, 2014 treason charges faced by the politicians may have to wait until a suitable judge is found or until new judges are appointed to fill the widening gaps on the judicial bench.

The case was set to continue on Monday, August 10, however, upon waiting for the presiding judges to proceed, the court was made aware of the unavailability of one of the judges, and the matter had to be postponed to today.

Justice Peete’s retirement is set to commence from August 31 and there are currently no prior arrangements for his availability.

However, KDNews learned that Justice Peete, amid his imminent retirement is set to continue with the case.

Justice Peete’s retirement comes not long after the passing of her ladyship Justice Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane.

The retirement of Justice Peete leaves yet another gap as Lesotho wallows in the shortage of judges.

Chaka-Makhooane died a few months after the passing of two other judges that passed on earlier this year and in 2019.

However, it is apparent that Justice Peete is set to continue to work on the case as one of the presiding judges of the said case. Justice Peete is working on the case alongside the presiding Acting Chief Justice Maseforo Mahase and Justice Teboho Molapo.

The case is on the sensational Clause 10 of a Southern African Development Community facilitator’s Envoy former Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa Dinkgang Moseneke’s negotiated Memorandum Of Understanding of October 2018.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki and then Official Leader of Opposition who is now Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu had inked a deal allowing Metsing and similarly placed persons to return back to Lesotho without fearing prosecution until the national reforms have been completed to their finality.

However the court had overturned the deal and announced it as unconstitutional, amid it being implored as the peaceful treaty between the exiled political leaders of the opposition and the government of Lesotho with an assistance of SADC.

But now, Metsing and Mochoboroane’s lawyers have to convince the court to condone a recission plea brought to court months after constitutional decided the Moseneke negotiated deal was unconstitutional and of no legal force.

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