Lesotho. According to Countryaah, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane was involved in a serious conflict with a leading judge during the year. Michael Ramodibedi, head of the country’s appellate court, was accused of crippling the judicial system after a dispute with colleagues. Ramodibedi accused the prime minister of trying to force him to step down in violation of the Constitution. The case was referred after several legal trips to the Supreme Court. Ramodibedi also has high judicial posts in Botswana and Swaziland.
In November, the Prime Minister dismissed the Minister of Water and Energy accused of fraud. The alleged crimes, which Timothy Thahane denies, were committed when he was finance minister in a previous government.
Lesotho’s good reputation on the equality front was a thorn. The country has for several years e.g. ranked high on a list of gender equality compiled by the World Economic Forum. In May, the Constitutional Court ruled that a woman cannot inherit a chieftaincy title. The Court referred to customary law. The case involved Princess Senate Masupha, Lesotho’s acting ambassador to Rome.
According to customary law, the widow can, after a chieftain, act as acting chieftain until a younger male heir can take over. Masupha considered himself discriminated against. As the chieftain’s first-born child, she wanted to take over the title since her mother, who had been a deputy for over ten years, died. Younger brothers opposed and supported the court. Legal judges believed that there was a trend in the region where customary law otherwise had to stand back.