Over 52 vie for the seven seats on the bench
MASERU – The announcement by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC)’s of seven vacancies of judges of the High Court of Lesotho has attracted over 50 applicants who have expressed interest in the coveted positions.
In a landmark move the commission on Wednesday published names for applicants who will be competing for the positions in the coming weeks. The candidates will publicly be interviewed on May 4 after undergoing a written interviews.
The current list compromises applicants who have been nominated as well as those who personally applied, but members of the public have been invited to raise objections to any of the candidates before vetting can be done.
There are 16 nominees and 36 applicants, bringing the total to 52.
The JSC has requested for written objections by April 13 for vetting to be commence candidates per the shortlisting criteria which has also been provided for members of the public.
In the JSC circular No. 1, the Commission’s secretary, ‘Mathato Sekoai, said “The Judicial Service Commission invites written objections by members of the public, civil society groups, legal practitioners, Law society, Director of Public Prosecutions, Faculty of Law (NUL) and churches on the applicants and nominees for the said positions.”
According to the selection criteria provided, candidates who do not meet any of the essential criteria provided will not be interviewed. Some of the requirements are that a candidate must have an extensive litigation/judicial experience, a minimum of five years.
Candidates should also demonstrate compatibility with workload of the court.
Also, candidates should have the ability to apply the law to the facts and understand how a judicial decision will affect human beings appearing in court. It is also said that candidates should show jurisprudential leadership either through handing down or at least arguing a landmark precedence setting decisions and or publishing in a recognized peer reviewed journal.
Appointment of the seven judges will not only fill the vacant post in the judiciary but also go a long way in assisting in the backlog of cases in the High Court and the commercial division of the court since passing of the only two judges of the court.
It will also correct the previous irregular selection of five candidates by former Acting Chief Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase and Attorney General Haae Phoofolo.
The pair met on August 20, 2020, in their capacity as members of the JSC, and selected five candidates for appointment as judges.
As appointing authority King Letsie III did not confirm the appointments and the High Court (sitting as the Constitutional Court) also nullified their meeting, essentially nullifying the recommendations. This prompted the JSC to reconsider its decision and changed the whole recruitment process.
Names of nominees
- Lerato Lisele-Mokhesi
- Tšabo matooane
- Tšeliso Bale
- ‘Mabatšoeneng Hlaele
- Nkuebe Ramabele
- Mokhele Matsau
- Makhele Julia Sekati
- Moenuoa Kopo
- ‘Mamotšelisi Mary-Theresa Khiba
- Manyathela Clement Kolobe
- Kuena ‘Mabotsoa Thabane
- ‘Mamosa Amelia Mohlabula-Nokana
- Fusi Nathaniel Sehapi
- Fumane ‘Malebona Khabo
- Mosoeunyane Masiphole
- Realeboha Mathaba
Names of applicants
- Itumeleng Shale
- ‘Mapitso ‘Marethabile Rantja Leseeo
- Tšeliso Mokoko
- Thabo Mpaka
- Palesa Rantara
- Hopolang Nathane
- Hlabanyane Monyake
- Molemo Monethi
- Makhetha ‘Maliepollo
- ‘Mafelile Ralebese
- Sekake Malebanye
- Nthabiseng Moopisa Motilane
- Itumeleng Ralebese Letsika
- Motlatsi Petrose Kolisang
- Thamae Thamae
- Teboho Thoso
- ‘Makampong Gugu Mokhoro
- ‘Matankiso Nthunya