Historically, the senior most Minister, usually the Deputy Prime Minister, has been designated Minister responsible for Parliamentary Affairs and becomes the Leader of the House. The major role of the Leader of the House is to organise Government business and ensure it goes into the House. As a result, in terms of Standing Order No. 97, the Leader of the House is the Chairperson of the Business Committee. The Leader of the House is the liaison between the office of the Speaker and/or Parliament and the Cabinet; and performs the following functions: pilots Parliament budget in the House; responds to parliamentary questions which have been deferred three times due to inability or unavailability of a Minister to answer the question; and oversees the general welfare of the Members of Parliament.
The current Leader of the House is Hon. Nthomeng Majara, who assumed the position when she was elected Deputy Prime Minister in 2022.
Honourable Nthomeng ‘Matoka Justina Majara, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, Law and Parliamentary Affairs in the Kingdom of Lesotho was born on the 8th of June 1963 at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Maseru, her birth home is in Maqhaka in the district of Berea. She is a single parent to a daughter.
Honourable Majara is the first woman to become Chief Justice of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the first woman Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Academically, Honourable Majara holds:
- A Master of Laws / Environment Law (LLM) from King’s College /University of London, London, UK obtained in 1997,
- She obtained Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from National University of Lesotho,Roma, Lesotho in 1992,
- She obtained Bachelor of Arts in Law (B.A. Law) from National University of Lesotho, Roma, Lesotho in 1984.
Honourable Majara is a seasoned Legal Eagle with an extensive tried and tested experience within the legal fraternity:
- For four years she was in the academia as a lecturer in the National University of Lesotho in the Faculty of Law teaching various law courses,
- She spent over six years carrying out research and issuing publications on the law and its application in Lesotho with special emphasis on vulnerable groups of the community,
- She served over 24 years in the Judiciary of Lesotho, 10 of which were in the Subordinate Court and 15 of which were in the Superior Courts,
- She is a former Judge of the High Court and ex officio Judge of the Court of Appeal with extensive experience in presiding over civil and criminal cases both in the trial and appeal stages, carrying out research as well as writing and delivering judgments,
- She is the Former Chief Justice of Lesotho with four years of experience running, overseeing and managing the judicial administration of all the Courts of Law in Lesotho, including chairing the Judicial Service Commission charged with appointments and discipline of judicial officers.
As part of her notable professional achievements and contribution to the legal fraternity, Honourable Majara accomplished the following:
- Unilaterally and successfully mediated between the Lesotho army command and lawyers who were representing detainees who were accused of mutiny during the highly volatile political situation in Lesotho in 2015 which culminated in peaceful collaboration between the two sides, and a more humane handling of the detainees and respect of their human rights.
- Successfully implemented the court annexed mediation as a way to address the high court’s huge case backlog by persuading judges’ assistants to double up as mediators without pay whilst awaiting the creation of positions and provision of requisite resources thereof from the year 2016 to 2018;
- Successfully persuaded the entire country’s Magistrates to call off an illegal industrial action and resume duties pending a solution to their grievances against the Executive branch. The situation had brought the subordinate courts’ work to a virtual standstill in 2017;
- Successfully persuaded a sitting Commissioner of police who was facing a contempt order for non-compliance of a court order to comply thereof and thus avoided a potentially embarrassing situation within the police service to have junior police officers arrest the top boss and create a crisis.
As a committed Professional and Public Servant, Honourable Majara has a trail of accolades and significant successes at all professional odysseys she has endeavoured.
At The High Court and Court of Appeal, Maseru, Lesotho as Judge of the Superior Courts, the Honourable Majara accomplished:
- To competently deal with all civil and criminal proceedings including hearing reviews and appeals from the subordinate courts.
- To successfully and speedily dealing with all cases before her culminating in her being the only Judge of the High Court that sat in the Court of Appeal during all its sittings.
- To successfully and exceptionally carrying out judicial and administrative functions of the appellate and apex Court of Lesotho and expeditiously delivering judgments in the two courts leading to appointment as the country’s Chief Justice.
At Lesotho Revenue Authority/Maseru, Lesotho as Head of Internal Affairs Honourable Majara managed to:
- Single-handedly develop departmental strategic and annual action plans of the newly set up division as well as plans to implement strategies that were fully integrated with the business strategies of the Authority.
- Establish Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) with the other divisions of the authority.
- Manage the funds property, and business of the division.
- Advise the Commissioner General on matters relating to the division.
- Ensure the maintenance of appropriate standards of conduct of the Authority and adherence to all relevant regulations by all staff of the Authority.
- Liaise with anti-corruption agencies and the police on the management of relevant investigations and prosecution and processed information on all allegations of corruption and fraud and prepared prosecution dockets.
- Liaise with all other divisions within the Authority, other law enforcement agencies and outside bodies to exchange views and information to meet operational needs and the Authority’s corporate development.
At Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Educational Trust, Maseru, Lesotho as Research Associate Honourable Majara:
- Undertook research into issues affecting women and the law at the national level, as well as on the legal rights of women nationally, regionally and internationally.
- Prepared all survey and research materials, methodology and other related topics in order to facilitate research activities. Carrying out all aspects of research such as data collection and analysis, report writing, printing and publication and dissemination of research findings to different groups of the community.
- Developed and distributed educational and informative materials that promote the understanding and appreciation of women’s legal rights including presenting programmes over local radio stations and television.
- Produced posters, pamphlets and booklets on research findings.
- Provided legal advice to clients.
- Arranged and attended all regional and other meetings including workshops and seminars on issues concerning women and the law with a view to improving women’s socio-legal situation for comparative and exchange of information purposes.
At the National University of Lesotho, Law Faculty, Roma, Lesotho as a Lecturer Honourable Majara:
- Designed and taught law courses including Criminal Procedure, Criminology, Civil Procedure, Family Law, Law and Environment, Supervising Students’ Dissertations
- Coordinated Faculty seminars and workshops and served on various committees of the University.
At the Magistrate Courts, Maseru, Lesotho as a Magistrate Honourable Majara:
- Presided over criminal and civil cases, hearing evidence, writing and delivering judgments.
- Reviewed cases from the Local and Central Courts.
- Carried out administrative duties including being in charge of remands, liaising with the Correctional Services with respect to the welfare of in-mates and assisting the Chief Magistrate with court management functions.
- Facilitated training courses for clerks of courts and Local and Central Court Presidents having risen through the ranks with increased civil and monetary jurisdiction.
THE HONOURABLE’S ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
At the Lesotho Revenue Appeals Tribunal, Maseru, Lesotho 2004 to 12/2018 Honourable Majara was Chairperson of the Tribunal and in her term she:
- Presided over appeals under the Customs and Excise Act 1993 and the Value added Tax Act 2001 and delivered judgments.
In the High Court of Namibia in 2010 Honourable Majara was Acting Judge, and in that period she:
- Presided over 2 high profile cases between a member of the Executive and members of the Judiciary of Namibia, and delivered well researched judgments which were confirmed on appeal.
At the Council of State of Lesotho, Maseru, Lesotho 2014 – 2015
Honourable Majara was a member and in that period she:
- Assisted His Majesty the King in the discharge of his functions and exercised other functions as are conferred by the Constitution of Lesotho in the Council of State.
Honourable Majara was also Chairperson of Commission of Enquiry on the Adoption of Children 2007 to 2008 and in that period she:
- Successfully chaired the Commission of Enquiry on Adoption of Children in Lesotho and submitted a report with most of its recommendations adopted, including the establishment of a new Ministry of Social Welfare and the enactment of the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act of 2011.
Honourable Majara’s Certifications
- Gender Training for Young Feminists, Harare, Zimbabwe 1995,
- Gender Training, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa 2000,
- Special Programme on Lawyers and Governance: Managing Change, London, UK 2005,
- Training Programme on the Judicial Application of International Labour Law, Pretoria, RSA 2005,
- Special Training on Environment and the Law, Nairobi, Kenya 2007 & 2010
- Capacity Building, Leadership, Management and IT Tools, London, UK 2015.
Honourable Majara’s Publications
- In Search of Justice: Where do Women in Lesotho Go?
- Sexual Violence in Lesotho: The Realities of Justice for Women.
Honourable Majara’s Reports
- The Law-Making Process in Lesotho 1998,
- The Legal Situation of Women in Lesotho (an Update and comparative analysis with other Sub-Saharan Africa Countries) 2001.
HONOURABLE MAJARA’S ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
- Honourable Majara was an Alternate Trustee at Lesotho-South Africa Biodiversity Trust 2004 to 2005,
- Honourable Majara was a Non-Executive Member of the Queen’s National Trust Fund 2005,
- Honourable Majara was also an Independent Director at Metropolitan Lesotho Health Board 2021 to 2022.