MEDIA ADVISORY: LESOTHO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO HEAR LANDMARK CHIEFTAINSHIP CASE

Salc : Staff Writer

Lesotho Constitutional Court to Hear Landmark Chieftainship Case

Johannesburg—On Monday and Tuesday, the Lesotho Constitutional Court will hear arguments in Masupha v The Senior Resident Magistrate for the Subordinate Court of Berea and Others, a case challenging legislation providing only for male succession to chieftainship.

“The time has come to end discrimination against women in Lesotho. A number of courts in the region have struck down laws that explicitly deny women the right to succeed to chieftainship and Lesotho needs to do the same,” stated Priti Patel, Deputy Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.

What:             The Lesotho Constitutional Court will hear arguments in Masupha v The Senior Resident Magistrate for the Subordinate Court of Berea and Others, a case challenging legislation providing only for male succession to chieftainship.

Where:            High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court, Maseru, Lesotho

When:             09:30am, Monday, 27 August 2012 and Tuesday, 28 August 2012

This case challenges section 10(2) of Lesotho’s Chieftainship Act of 1968, which provides only for male succession to chieftainship.

The dispute is between Senate Masupha, the first-born daughter and only child of Principal Chief Masupha and his first wife, and her relatives. Senate Masupha is arguing that she is entitled to succeed her father. A number of her relatives however, are contesting her claim on the basis that daughters are not eligible for the office of Principal Chief.

This case involves two matters, consolidated by order of the Constitutional Court, earlier this year. The first case was filed in the Lesotho Magistrate Court and concerned a dispute between Lepoqo David Masupha the son of Principal Chief Masupha and his second wife, and Sempe Gabashane Masupha Principal Chief Masupha’s younger brother. Both claimed that they should succeed to chieftainship and Senate Masupha was not cited in this case on the basis that, being a woman, she was believed not to be eligible to succeed Principal Chief Masupha. The second case is a constitutional challenge filed by Senate Masupha arguing that denying her the ability to succeed to chieftainship solely due to her gender violates her rights to equality and freedom from discrimination guaranteed under the Lesotho Constitution. Both cases will be heard on Monday and Tuesday.

For more information:

Priti Patel:         +27 11 587 5065 (o)

+27 83 784 8496 (m)

+27 76 808 0505 (m)

pritip@salc.org.za

Melody Kozah:                        melodyk@salc.org.za

 

For live updates from the court: @Follow_SALC

 

For background on the case:https://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org/library/item/salc_case_summary_masupha_v_the_senior_resident_magistrate_for_the_subordinate_court_of_berea_and_ot