Ramod­ibedi fac­ing his own mu­sic

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IN re­sponse to “Life­line for Ramod­ibedi” ( Le­sotho Times, May 7, 2015), the ap­point­ment of Jus­tice Bheki Mapha­lala, a supreme court judge, as Swazi­land act­ing chief jus­tice in the place of suspended Mathealira Michael Ramod­ibedi is, on the face of it, quite nor­mal and rea­son­able.

How­ever, this judge pre­vi­ously re­ported to Mr Ramod­ibedi and had frosty re­la­tions with him as re­ported in Swazi­land news­pa­pers.

Is he the right man to pre­side over Mr Ramod­ibedi’s case? I think the gov­ern­ment of Swazi­land would do well to ap­point an ex­ter­nal judge who is to­tally in­de­pen­dent of the ju­di­cial malaise that has gripped the coun­try in re­cent years.

In this way, the due process will be seen to have been fair.

Prime Min­is­ter Sibu­siso Dlamini’s undis­guised ea­ger­ness “to do jus­tice” in this case and his over­bear­ing in­flu­ence in the ap­point­ment of an un­der­ling judge seems, from the out­side at least, to have all the hall­marks of a “fixed” trial by that coun­try’s Ju­di­cial Ser­vices Com­mis­sion.

It seems the pre­mier has found a will­ing judge to de­liver the head of Mr Ramod­ibedi on a plat­ter.

Is this not what Mr Ramod­ibedi was also hired to do, con­trary to that coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion, by re­mov­ing the “trou­ble­some” judge Tom Ma­suku?

The new act­ing chief jus­tice should think very care­fully be­fore ex­e­cut­ing this as­sign­ment.

He too may exit the same way when he falls out of favour with the pow­er­ful ca­bals that op­er­ate the Swazi po­lit­i­cal sys­tem.

Justi­nain Har­grove.

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