Lawyers in Swaziland might try to impeach Michael Ramodibedi, the kingdom’s chief justice.
They might also call for his outright sacking, or go to court to seek a reversal of all of Ramodibedi’s directives, including one that courts could not admit cases that challenged King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
The Law Society of Swaziland is also angry that High Court Judge Thomas Masuku has been suspended, pending an inquiry into allegations of malpractice, including that he insulted the king.
Lawyers are already boycotting the Swazi courts and are due to meet today (13 July 2011) to decide what to do next.
Thuli Brilliance Makama, a member of a lawyers’ committee tasked with finding a solution to the prevailing judicial crisis, told media in Swaziland that lawyers were discussing the three possible options.
The Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, reported Makama saying the chief justice’s directives had the effect of repealing the laws of the kingdom, including the Constitution itself and therefore had to be challenged.
‘This has been happening for a long time and he has not been challenged. This has made him to feel invincible to a point that he ordered the High Court Registrar (Lorraine Hlophe) not to admit cases that challenge the King. This spells disaster,’ she said.
Makama said, ‘Things have become so complicated such that the Law Society has decided to do something. The Society’s approach is to fight the CJ’s actions immediately and then undo all wrongs of the past.’
She said that Ramodibedi’s actions towards Justice Thomas Masuku were a warning to other judges not to offend the CJ’s office.
SWAZI LAWYERS BOYCOTT COURTS
AFRICAN SUPPORT FOR JUDGE GROWS