Ombudsman needs more powers
THE Office of the Ombudsman was established by sections 134 and 135 of the 1993 Constitution of Lesotho. Its nature, duties and functions are fully described in the Ombudsman Act of 1996. Its functions range from providing efficient, effective and accessible services in the filing of complaints against public sector agencies by individuals to conducting independent investigations in order to provide timely remedial action for its clients.
Therefore it serves the function of protecting the public against abuse of power by authorities within the state and promoting transparency and effective administration in government agencies.
In spite of this essential function in government administration, the Ombudsman still leaves a great deal to be desired in terms of its effectiveness in ensuring justice for complainants, which happens to be an integral part of its mandate.
As an institution with a quasi judicial function, it has a limitation to its function in that its findings are only advisory to government and do not have the force of law. Second is the level of collaboration the Ombudsman has with similar foreign offices as well as regional bodies, as this provides it with various tools from different jurisdictions.
Lastly, the aspect to be looked into is the level of public awareness the Ombudsman’s office has within Lesotho and how to improve on it. A comparative analysis is therefore necessary in order to recommend how best the Lesotho Ombudsman may reach the ultimate effectiveness required from such a watchdog IN response to “Lesotho fertile ground for instability: Phumaphi” ( Lesotho Times, October 1, 2015), SADC Commission of Inquiry chairperson, Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi, is being forthright in this instance.
Much as I am not interested in politics, it does not require a politician or rocket scientist to see that Lesotho is messed up.
Lesotho has one tribe and just two million people, but one would think there are tribes, because politicians are so divided and at each other’s throats each and every day.
God bless my beautiful motherland and bring an end to all the division and atrocities so that our brothers and sisters can live peacefully.
Motseko Dompedro Mochai. institution.
The first point of concern within the functions of the Ombudsman is the powers vested therein as well as the extent of such powers. It is found that the Ombudsman has no judicial powers and can only file reports before Parliament in cases of non-compliance with his recommendations. However, this it is not a universal characteristic, as there are various jurisdictions including those in Africa where the Ombudsman’s bark does definitely come with a bite.
In Namibia, non compliance with the Ombudsman’s recommendations can be remedied not only by recourse to Parliament, but also with the courts of law. In Mauritius, after being delivered to a minister or the prime minister, a report can be tabled to Parliament or can further be enforced in a court of law as a last resort.
In Ethiopia, the defaulting government authority or individual can be sued. In the Gambia, orders writs and directions issued by the Ombudsman have the same force of law as the High Court.
Article 91(e) of the Namibian Constitution allows the Ombudsman to approach a court of law for an interdict compelling the offending party to comply with his recommendation.
In Tanzania, the duties of an Ombudsman are performed by the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance. Article 28(3) of the enabling Act allows the Commission to bring an action before any court of law or to recommend to any competent authority to bring an action before court. This shows that an Ombudsman’s powers are determined by
IN response to “Rakuoane to sue Mahao’s wife” ( Lesotho Times, October 1, 2015) your reputation went down the drain the day you decided to become part of a government that turns members of the military against each other, convincing them to even kill each other with weapons meant to protect all Basotho.
I don’t see how suing a grieving widow will help to restore your reputation Ntate.
I PREFER going the legal route because the courts are more reliable as they assess the depth of evidence put before them “Rakuoane to sue Mahao’s wife” ( Lesotho Times, October 1, 2015).
The commission, on the other hand, does not have the time to do the enabling laws and will take an amendment of the laws relating to the office in Lesotho for the Ombudsman to have an effective judicial role and pursue matters to finality.
On the aspect of partnership with similar institutions, it is imperative for the Ombudsman to share information with other jurisdictions in order to find areas for improvement. Such collaboration should also include active membership in international organizations such as the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) or the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI).
Membership of these organizations should assist Lesotho in coordinating and organizing meetings with Ombudsman offices from different countries. These organizations help with interaction on the international scene and should also extend to partnering with regional bodies such as the Secretariat for Human Rights Institutions and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, which could also give the Lesotho Ombudsman a greater legal voice on the international scene. The Ombudsman concept is also promoted by these institutions through research, sharing of information, including on good practice.
The third important aspect that determines the effectiveness of the Ombudsman is an excellent public awareness program which functions continually across the country. Such a program is important in promoting awareness of the Ombudsman’s office even in remote areas where there is not much education on human rights as well as procedural steps to follow in pursuing a matter.
HOME Affairs Minister Lekhetho Rakuoane is considering taking legal action because he believes he is innocent.
He also feels indignant as ‘Mamphanya Mahao implicated him in the alleged plot to kill her husband.
Retetse Evaristus Masitise.
IT is a sad day when men forget they are protectors of families, women and children.
What is poignantly evident is that there is no honour and integrity in the friendship this man had with the Mahao family.
You cannot, with good conscience, bully a widow left with young kids that call you uncle. How heartless. She has already gone through so much pain, but go ahead sir, kick her while she is down.
That should be a grand testimony of your manhood and a great example for the nation. Make our day.
In as much as the Lesotho Ombudsman already has its own outreach programs, the point of concern is how effective these are. If an entire nation is to know about the services of the office, then a rigorous campaign should be carried out, just. The Ombudsman’s office in The Gambia has an active outreach program which mainly involves workshops across the country.
The participants include heads of public institutions, Chiefs and community leaders, representatives from the army, police and correctional services. All these institutions take part in educating citizens on the rights they have in cases of dissatisfactory services from each office and the steps to follow in pursuing a complaint with the Ombudsman.
The purpose of the program is to create awareness of the public regarding the Ombudsman’s work, so as to enhance service delivery. These workshops are broadcast on radio programs which are organized in various regions. They involve phone-in formats where people call in with either questions, comments or suggestions on how the Ombudsman could be more effective in delivering its services.
Basotho are known to be quite opinionated and vocal on radio stations. It is time such passion be put to better use, not just by the Ombudsman itself, but by all other institutions conducting outreach programs for the benefit of the public. An inclusion of the public in making changes in public institutions in Lesotho would be a giant leap for our constitutional democracy in general.
Hlasoa Molapo. IN response to “Rakuoane to sue Mahao’s wife” ( Lesotho Times, October 1, 2015) how on earth can Home Affairs Minister Lekhetho Rakuoane sue Lieutenant-general Maaparankoe Mahao’s wife?
He should be brave enough to go to the SADC Commission of Inquiry and give his side of the story.
The minister surely has something to answer for.
How can ‘Mamphanya Mahao mention his name of all the people in Lesotho?
Instead of a lawsuit, he should set the record straight on his involvement in this issue.
THE case of Danish businessman, Peter Frederiksen, who was ar- rested for surgically removing and freezing the genitals of 21 women should be a wakeup call for all women in Lesotho and the developing world “‘Genital mutilator’ to apply for bail” ( Lesotho Times, October 1, 2015).
A lot of people are abused in Africa but the perpetrators get away with it.
This animal was able to destroy the lives of at least 21 women and would have continued had it not been for the tip off to the police.
Only God knows the number of people he maimed and killed.
The police and other law enforcement agencies need to set up victim-friendly departments which encourage people who have been abused to speak out.