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Law Society challenges Tenth Amendment Act’s constitutionality

By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – The Law Society of Lesotho has petitioned the Constitutional Court, seeking the declarator on the constitutionality of the recently gazetted Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.

The petitioners are Law Society and Advocate Tekane Maqakachane, also the President of Law Society, being first and second applicant respectively.

The respondent is only the Attorney General.

The duo wants the Constitutional Court to declare the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution as having no effect on the law.

They pray to the court to declare the “Tenth Amendment to the Constitution Act No.15 2022 as unconstitutional, null and void ab initio (from the onset) and of no consequence, force or effect in law, for being enacted contrary to and in violation of section 78 (5) of the Constitution of Lesotho 1993”.

This piece of legislation among others anchors two additional languages into the constitution which are isiXhosa and Sephuthi, which are now official languages along with English and Sesotho.

It also introduces the Supreme Court as the highest court in the land among other amendments and provisions made to the Constitution.

This Bill encompasses the amendments propositions made in the Eleventh Amendment Bill.

Meanwhile, Kananelo Boloetse who was later joined by Advocate Lintle Tuke, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Lesotho, and Nkoale Oetsi Tšoana have lodged a court application, petitioning the court to nullify the business undertaken by the parliament during its recall by His Majesty King Letsie III, and the Constitutional Court is yet to hand down the ruling over this matter.

They want the court to nullify the Declaration of State of Emergency and Recall of Parliament pursuant to Legal Notice No.79 of 2022 (Declaration of State of Emergency, 2022) and Legal Notice No. 82 of 2022 (Recall of the Tenth Parliament Notice, 2022).

Last month, the Prime Minster declared the State of Emergency, a move followed by the King’s recalling of the Parliament to pass the Eleventh Amendment to Constitution Bill, 2022 and the Electoral Bill to usher the public into elections with new pieces of legislation. The Parliament effectively convened from August 24 to 29. 

The matter will be heard on September 26.