JUSTICE Nthomeng Majara has been appointed Lesotho’s new chief justice.
Justice Majara (51) takes over from Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi, who has beenacting chief justicesinceApril 2013.
Justice Majara’s appointment as the head of the country’s judiciary is with effect from 28 August, 2014, according to a Government Gazette Legal Notice No 59 of 2014.
Asked for more information on this development yesterday, High Court and Court of Appeal Registrar, Lesitsi Mokeke said he was not aware of the appointment.
“This is news to me because I have just come out of a meeting with Justice Monaphathi, where we were discussing administrative issues in his capacity as the Acting Chief Justice.
“I think he is also not aware of this development. If he had known, I don’t think he would have called me for the meeting.
“I am really not aware of the new developments; it’s news to me.”
Meanwhile, the Office of the Chief Justice, on Tuesday issued a statement lifting the suspension of all court operations, which had been indefinitely stopped the previous day due to the country’s political unrest.
Part of the statement reads: “All Honourable Judges, Magistrates and Court Presidents shall continue to discharge their judicial functions in accordance with Section 118 of the Constitution of Lesotho 1993 and in accordance with their judicial oath of office despite the circumstances prevailing in the country.
“Stern action shall be taken against anyone who disrupts or interferes with the administration of justice in the Kingdom of Lesotho.”
However, some High Court and Maseru Magistrate’s Court staff left before midday yesterday, saying they feared for their lives due to the absence of the police, who normally provide these institutions with security. Members of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service suspended their operations last Saturday after three police stations in Maseru had been attacked by Lesotho Defence Force personnel, who claimed they were on a special operation to confiscate firearms the police allegedly wanted to illegally give to members of the All Basotho Convention (ABC).
“It is not safe here; we are aware that there is an instruction to come to work, but there is no assurance that we will be safe,” said some of the workers, as they left the premises “going home”.