African Judges Face Threats, from Without and Within

In Kenya and across Southern Africa, the independence, efficiency and reputation of the judiciary in four nations are under threat, writes Carmel Rickard for Legalbrief

The two most recent chief justices of Kenya accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of failing to confirm the appointments of judges he doesn't like, while in Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is trying to retain beyond retirement age a chief justice seen as too close to the government. 

In Lesotho, new judicial appointments have been put on hold, apparently for lack for resources, but the shortage is leading to long delays of high-profile trials of accused politicians and soldiers charged with threats against the state. 

While in South Africa, the current threat appears to be from within. The body which nominates and disciplines judges is under fire for allowing its members to pursue political harassment of candidates, and of failing to act timeously against a judge found to have tried to protect former President Jacob Zuma from facing corruption charges. 



South Africa's Constitutional Court has a reputation of independence from the government. But the Judicial Service Commission, which interviews and disciplines its members, is falling into disrepute.

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