Chief Justice pays tribute to Khauoe

MASERU — Chief Justice Mahapela Lehohla yesterday paid tribute to former Law Society of Lesotho president Khauoe Thabang Khauoe who died two weeks ago.

Khauoe, 62, died on October 22 after a long battle with cancer.

Speaking at a memorial service for the late attorney Justice Lehohla said Khauoe acquitted himself well as he discharged his professional duties.

He said Khauoe had everything admirable in a legal practitioner namely; understanding his brief thoroughly and advancing in court what was essential.

“This way he rid his presentation of unnecessary irrelevance and secured the court’s attention on the essence of his plea, a factor that constitutes a pons assinorum at which most unwary practitioners stumble and fall,” Justice Lehohla said.

Justice Lehohla said Khauoe suffered his losses in litigation with good grace accepting that his would be a dull brief at times.

“He knew that there would be another day to do battle and, God willing, the odds might be skewed differently one day in his favour,” he said.

The chief justice said Khauoe’s many good attributes could be traced to good parentage that “gave him a precious head-start” earlier on in life.

“What with a mother who was a court president for basic understanding of law on the one hand and a father who was a prison warder to enforce proper discipline on the other,” Justice Lehohla said.

He said Khauoe often spoke his mind as when he criticised the introduction of a full scale Commercial Court as a rich man’s court.

“Yet when disabused of any notion by reference to the introduction of small claims procedure working hand-in-hand with that meant for the long-pocketed so-called, he was  quick to detract from his former stance,” Justice Lehohla said.

He said Khauoe often used the annual ceremonial opening of the court’s session to demonstrate his independence of thought and freedom from blind faith.

Khauoe served as Law Society president in 1995 at a time Justice Lehohla said was a “period of great constitutional crisis in Lesotho”.

Between 1974 and 1979, Khauoe studied for an LLB degree at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.

He also taught business studies at the National University of Lesotho between 1981 and 1982 before going into private practice.

He is survived by his wife ‘M’e ‘Masetsoto and a daughter.

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