The late President of the Court of Appeal Justice Mathealira Michael Ramolibeli has been honoured as an undeniable international civil servant.
Justice Ramolibeli was honoured during his memorial service held at the High Court premises on Thursday.
Delivering her eulogy during an event attended by among others, Judges of the High Court, Lawyers and family members, the Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) ‘Maseforo Mahase explained that Justice Ramolibeli who was affectionately known as ‘search’ was not only a valuable asset for Lesotho but also served in his distinguished long career that spanned nearly five decades in different countries.
ACJ Mahase indicated that Justice Ramolibeli arguably carved the proverbial niche for himself and acquitted himself optimally in this profession when he was elevated to the bench in 1994 as Lesotho’s High Court Judge.
ACJ Mahase explained that despite serving as the first Mosotho national to become the country’s President of the Court of Appeal from 2008 , Justice Ramolibeli served as Eswatini’s Chief Justice from 2009 to 2015, President of the Court of Appeal of Seychelles from 2004 to 2006 as well as the Justice of the Court of Appeal of Botswana from 2006 to 2012.
When talking about Justice Ramolibeli’s love for sports, Justice Mahase explained that the late was an enthusiastic sports lover and administrator who eventually became the Chairman of Matlama Footbal Club from 1974 to 1983.
Justice Ramolibeli further became Chairman of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Football Club from 1984 to 1996 and had reportedly transformed the club discipline wise and in general and in 2000 chaired the Commission of Inquiry into the problems besetting the National Team Likuena that led to a strike by the players on the eve of the Lesotho vs Zimbabwe COSAFA Castle Cup final match in 2000.
Speaking on behalf of the Law Society of Lesotho, His Excellency Advocate Kelebone Maope indicated that Justice Ramolibeli was a self-made person who used his education to achieve what he wanted.
He explained that his legal practice was characterised by independence and steadfast that helped improve the confidence of his clients.
Advocate Maope also explained that Justice Ramolibeli contributed to Law development in this country while still a High Court Judge where he was also involved in a series of high profile cases that included the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) where the authority’s Chief Executive Officer was involved.
He further added that Justice Ramolibeli delivered judgements in land disputes expeditiously as well as landmark appeal judgements.
Speaking on behalf of the Attorney General (AG) Advocate Tsebang Putsoane explained that Justice Ramolibeli was a judge most local lawyers were happy to appear before because he was able to identify the real issues of the case.
He also commented that Lesotho had been blessed to have had a legal giant of Justice Ramolibeli’s calibre and further passed sincere condolences on behalf of the AG and the government of Lesotho to the Ramolibeli family.
Speaking at the same event, Justice Ramolibeli’s eldest son, Advocate Napo Ramolibeli said his father was indeed a remarkable Judge not only in Lesotho but also in countries he served.
He explained that his father wrote many judgements and contributed a lot in gender rights for women to own land but highlighted that it is unfortunate that his career in Lesotho ended because he was protecting the independence of the judiciary.
Justice Ramolibeli is survived by a wife and five children.