Africa-Press – Lesotho. JUSTICE Onkemetse Tshosa, the Botswana judge who resigned from the Lesotho High Court this week, left the country a frustrated man after failing to make progress on three high-profile cases he was hired to handle.
Although Justice Tshosa cited personal reasons for his resignation, High Court sources said he was unhappy that his cases had been bogged down by inordinate applications and postponements.
Justice Tshosa was one of the three foreign judges seconded to Lesotho by SADC to preside over high profile cases after a SADC Commission of Inquiry. The others were Justices Charles Hungwe of Zimbabwe and Kabelo Lebotse from Botswana.
The trio started their initial 18-months contracts in August 2019 on salaries and benefits sponsored by the Europeans Union through the African Union (AU) and SADC.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNPD) in Lesotho is now managing the fund. Justice Lebotse resigned in January this year when the judges were fighting over better pay and benefits.
Their salaries were reviewed a month later but that was not enough to keep Justice Tshosa whose cases have been bobbing around in the High Court for the past two years without much progress.
He was presiding over the case of Brigadier Rapele Mphaki and nine other soldiers on trial for the murder of three people whose bodies were later found in Mohale Dam in May 2017. There has been little progress on that case.
The same has happened to the case in which former commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and five other soldiers are charged for the murder of Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko and high treason that happened during the military’s August 30, 2014, raids on police stations and the State House.
The trial of the Captain Litekanyo Nyakane and five other soldiers for the murder of three youths in Mafeteng in 2012 is also mired in delays. Justice Tshosa’s and Justice Hungwe’s contracts ended in May this year but were extended to October to give them time to wrap up their cases.
But as October draws closer there is no end in sight for the cases. A source said this is what forced Justice Tshosa to throw in the towel. “He was not happy that there is not much progress to show for his two years here,” said a source at the High Court who frequently interacted with the judge.
“All his work has been buried in application after application. At some point he was bound to get tired of it all. ”
“The truth is that these delaying tactics have been part of the defence’s plan from the start. Lesotho’s lawyers will tie you down using the court processes. ”
High Court and Court or Appeal Register, Advocate Mathato Sekoai, said she could not discuss Justice Tshosa’s resignation. Advocate Sekoai however admitted that his resignation could potentially delay the cases further.