Lesotho princesses can’t be chiefs

AFP-JIJI

Lesotho’s top court Thursday upheld a law that bars princesses from succeeding their fathers as traditional chiefs, a decision that activists say dealt a “serious blow” to women’s rights and gender equality.

Constitutional Court Judge Ts’eliso Monaphathi ruled the current law is not discriminatory, as it allows for the wives of a chief to become his successor.

“Only a male first born of the chief may take up the chieftainship, failing which, if the chief has no other son, the wife of the chief may take over the chieftainship,” said Monaphathi.

“This shows that women are not discriminated against, but have to be in a certain position to take over the vacant position.”

The landmark case was brought by Senate Masupha, the first-born child of a chief who died and was replaced by her mother, who has also since died.