Chief Justice of Namibia, Peter Shivute, has offered the help of the Southern African Chief Justices Forum to resolve the Swazi judicial crisis.

Shivute issued the offer in his capacity as chair of that forum, as the crisis in Swaziland continued.

According to the Times of Swaziland, bail was granted on Thursday 23 April to two judges, arrested earlier in the week, as well as to the registrar of the high court. The former minister of justice, arrested at the same time, has been refused bail. However, the chief justice of Swaziland, Michael Ramodibedi, continues to defy an arrest warrant. As police wait outside the arrest him, he remains inside his home and refuses to leave.

Shivute says that the forum has been following events in Swaziland and urges the authorities in that country to make sure that they apply the rule of law in the situation.

The forum encouraged the authorities to ensure that the chief justice and the other judges involved are accorded all their rights including the right to be represented by counsel of their choice.

‘Above all the matter needs to be handled in accordance with the law and in a way that preserves and reinforces the independence, integrity and dignity of the courts, and reinforces rather than undermines separation of powers and the rule of law,’ he said.

He said the form also affirmed the principle of equality before the law as sacrosanct for the maintenance of public confidence in the administration of justice, and concluded, ‘The SACJF stands ready to offer its counsel to the authorities in Swaziland to help in resolving this matter.’