Jus­tice Phumaphi re­tires

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

BOTSWANA High Court judge, Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi (pic­tured), has re­tired af­ter 42 years in the le­gal pro­fes­sion.

Jus­tice Phumaphi was ap­pointed by the South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) in July 2015 to lead a 10-mem­ber Com­mis­sion of In­quiry in­ves­ti­gat­ing the killing of for­mer Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der Maa­parankoe Ma­hao by his col­leagues. The probe was held be­tween 31 Au­gust and 23 Oc­to­ber 2015.

Lt-gen Ma­hao was killed on 25 June 2015 out­side Maseru dur­ing an army op­er­a­tion to ar­rest sol­diers sus­pected of be­ing part of an al­leged plot to top­ple the LDF com­mand of which he was ac­cused of be­ing the ring­leader.

The LDF in­sists Lt-gen Ma­hao was shot while re­sist­ing ar­rest, but his fam­ily claims he was as­sas­si­nated.

Soon af­ter the killing, Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili asked SADC to help es­tab­lish the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the shoot­ing. The probe team has since sub­mit­ted its re­port which in­cludes rec­om­men­da­tions for the gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Botswana me­dia re­ports, Jus­tice Phumaphi was de­scribed by his erst­while col­leagues as a “colos­sal le­gal lu­mi­nary” dur­ing a farewell din­ner held in Fran­cis­town on Satur­day.

Botswana Chief Jus­tice Maruping Di­botelo said the judge had “mer­i­to­ri­ously served for 13 years as a High Court judge af­ter leav­ing his ca­reer in pri­vate prac­tice”.

He said Jus­tice Phumaphi reached the manda­tory re­tire­ment age of 70 in July last year, but was per­mit­ted to con­tinue as a judge by Pres­i­dent Ian Khama.

“This was done to en­able him to com­plete cases which were pend­ing be­fore him, in­clud­ing the de­liv­ery of judg­ments as well as to fin­ish the oner­ous task he was as­signed to in the King­dom of Le­sotho,” Jus­tice Di­botelo was quoted as say­ing by the Botswana Daily News.

The chief jus­tice added Jus­tice Phumaphi “rep­re­sented Botswana well in quelling and sta­bil­is­ing the cri­sis and volatile sit­u­a­tion that was in Le­sotho”.

The chief jus­tice also wished Jus­tice Phumaphi well, say­ing he would have the time to do what he had al­ways had pas­sion for — cat­tle farm­ing.

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