By Costa Nkomo
THREE retired judges are set to be hired in the coming weeks to help clear a backlog of High Court cases piling up in the country’s courts amid revelations some cases of 14 years ago were still to be concluded.
This was revealed by Chief Justice Luke Malaba while presiding over Wednesday’s public interviews for five High Court judges aspiring to be elevated to the Supreme Court.
During the interviews, judges were quizzed on why they thought they deserved to be promoted to the apex court when most of them were still sitting on cases, among them those dating back to 2005.
To reduce the backlog, the country’s top judge revealed during the interviews three retired judges were going to be hired as reinforcements to clear cases that continue to pile up within the country’s courts.
“In order to address some of the issues you are raising, in a week or two we (JSC) are going to appoint three retired judges to take up some of the outstanding cases,” Malaba said.
One Supreme Court aspirant, Justice Charles Hungwe told the interviewing panel that he has been shifted from one court to another and has lately been deployed on international duty, something he attributed to his failure to put finality to some of the cases he was handling.
“The first thing is that the infusion of the international jurisprudence is being taken further by being seconded to the High Court of Lesotho,” Hungwe said.
“The second thing, I think that as nations in SADC, we need to have a common approach to judiciary governance issues.
“My need being in Lesotho I think it’s a learning experience not just for myself but also for the judiciary because they are drawing from what I am bringing to them and learning where to improve.”
During the interviews, other judges admitted they were still sitting on some of the cases citing administrative complexities as they are moved from one court to another, leading to delays in putting matters to finality.
It also came out that some judges like Samuel Kudya have 36 reserved judgements still to be delivered citing administrative issues as reasons behind the delay in passing judgements.
This implies that there might be innocent people who are spending time in custody on remand.