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EswatiniLII
Eswatini
EswatiniLII
eswatinilii.org
GhaLII
Ghana
GhaLII
ghalii.org
Kenya Law
Kenya
Kenya Law
kenyalaw.org
LesothoLII
Lesotho
LesothoLII
lesotholii.org
MalawiLII
Malawi
MalawiLII
malawilii.org
Mauritius
MauritiusLII
mauritiuslii.org
NamibLII
Namibia
NamibLII
namiblii.org
Rwanda
RwandaLII
rwandalii.org
SierraLII
Sierra Leone
SierraLII
sierralii.org
SeyLII
Seychelles
SeyLII
seylii.org
LawLibrary
South Africa
LawLibrary
lawlibrary.org.za
TanzLII
Tanzania
TanzLII
tanzlii.org
ULII
Uganda
ULII
ulii.org
ZambiaLII
Zambia
ZambiaLII
zambialii.org
ZanzibarLII
Zanzibar
ZanzibarLII
zanzibarlii.org
ZimLII
Zimbabwe
ZimLII
zimlii.org

Latest Commentary

‘No justification for the unjustifiable’: Lesotho’s ombud slams grand-scale torture, assault in Maseru prison

Lesotho’s national ombud, Tlotliso Angelina Polaki, has issued a scathing report on massive-scale torture and assaults that took place in Maseru’s central correctional institution during December 2023, leaving about 95% of the inmates of the prison injured, one dead and one who is now wheelchair-bound and will never walk again.

Major court decision on image rights benefits Ugandan soccer players

Members of Uganda’s national soccer team from the period around 2007/8 have just been awarded a payout against MTN Uganda by the commercial court. The telecom giant had a year-long contract with Proline, the players’ originating development soccer club, allowing it to use the players’ images for advertising. But MTN had continued to use their images even after that contract expired on the basis that it had a sponsorship agreement with Fufa, soccer’s governing body in Uganda. The players then challenged MTN in court, through Proline, and have now won a significant damages award. But the judgment exposed some serious flaws in the way that Fufa has approached the question of using the image rights of its senior players, and the court commented that this is a ‘case study’ for why Fufa needs to sort out its contractual arrangements with senior players.

Executive interference in Ugandan court decisions continues – this time by the justice minister

Uganda’s minister of justice, Norbert Mao, has taken a leaf straight from the book of the country’s president, Yoweri Museveni. This week, the minister wrote to the principal judge of the Ugandan high court, asking that the judge directly intervene in a matter that has been brought to his attention by an MP on behalf of a constituent. Mao asked for the ‘immediate administrative intervention’ in the matter by the principal judge. Earlier this year, Museveni wrote a similar letter to the chief justice of Uganda, also requesting intervention in a matter, and the CJ later indicated that this was not the first time it had happened.

Is rape by family members treated too lightly by the law?

The high court has sent the case of a Malawian teenager, charged with raping his 89-year-old grandmother, back to the magistrate’s court for a possible re-trial because the court had wrongly prosecuted a case of rape instead of incest. If convicted in a re-trial, however, Malawi’s incest law could see the accused sentenced to a mere five years. Malawi’s penal code provides for a significant difference between the sentence to be imposed when a man rapes a close family member, and in a case where the two are not related. When they are unrelated, the code provides that a rape offender ‘shall be liable to be punished with death or with imprisonment for life’ (However, Malawi has had what amounts to a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty since 1992.) By contrast, ‘incest by males’, is categorised in the code as a ‘felony’, and anyone convicted ‘shall be liable for imprisonment for five years’. There is an exception: if it is proved ‘that the female person is under the age of 16, the offender shall be liable to imprisonment for life’.

Are the courts out of touch with the ordinary, and often poor, people they serve?

This is a question that readers can’t help asking, based on a contempt of court conviction and sentence by the magistrate’s court in Namibia. The case raises concerns about a lack of sensitivity and awareness of that court to the daily difficulties of poor people it serves. The accused in the case, Festus Shimmy, was sent to prison for three months because he wore ‘short pants’ to a court hearing and the magistrate convicted him of contempt of court for doing so. Explaining his attire, Shimmy told the court that his long trousers were very dirty and so he had worn the shorts. To make matters worse, his case was not sent to the high court on review ‘without delay’, as the law requires in contempt of court matters, but only arrived for review well after the three-month sentence had expired. This meant that even though the high court set aside his conviction and sentence, this came too late for Shimmy. Further, the high court pointed out that the magistrate imposed a fine of N$500, though the law clearly states the maximum is N$100.

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