Chairman of Council
Profile of Chairman of Council – Advocate Kuena Mophethe
Advocate Kuena Mophethe is the Chairman of the National University of Lesotho’s 14th Council. She is the first woman to serve in the capacity of Chairman of NUL Council. She is a lawyer and a businesswoman.
Adv. Mophethe trained as a lawyer at the National University of Lesotho, having obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Bachelor of Law Degree in 1980 and 1982 respectively. These were followed by specialised training in Legislative drafting in Harare, Zimbabwe; Fellowship of the Association of Arbitrators, Southern Africa and several short-term specialised, industry specific trainings.
Her career started in 1982 as a Crown Counsel in the Attorney General’s Chambers, then called the Law Office. Later, she moved from litigation section and worked as an assistant legislative draftsperson. Her responsibilities ranged from prosecuting and representing the Government in legal proceedings to drafting laws, regulations, policies and giving legal advice and legal opinions to several Government ministries and departments.
In 1988, she left Government employment with the Attorney General’s Chambers and joined the LHDA. This was at the height of preparations for the procurement of contracts, for the Phase 1 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Her responsibilities ranged from legal inputs in procurement of the major consultancy and construction contracts, insurance of the Major Works, risk management, internal Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) policies, employment contracts as well as pension fund supervision.
Later on, Adv. Mophethe was appointed the LHDA’s Legal Services Manager. One of the highlights of this position was putting together the LHDA’s arbitration strategy and team in preparation for defending claims by one of the major contractors and leading the LHDA team in subsequent arbitration in London and winning the arbitration.
Between January 2004 and December, 2004, she became LHDA’s acting Corporate Services General Manager, exercising oversight over the four branches of the Legal Services, Human Resources, Planning and Information Technology. It was during this time that the LHDA was transforming from a construction works institution to a utility entity and, consequently, necessary restructuring had to be done and some inevitable retrenchments. In this process she was the face of the LHDA and coordinating and leading the process.
In 2005, Advocate Mophethe opened her own law firm specialising in commercial and development law. She collaborated with a number of other consultancies where necessary. Some of the assignments she worked on were:
- Few for the International Labour Organisation (ILO);
- Drafting of court rules for the Children’s Court;
- International Finance Corporation on the Legal Due Diligence in respect of the construction and operation of the Queen Mmamohato Memorial Hospital (it had not been given a name then);
- Few assignments for UNEP including the drafting for the Ministry of Tourism Environment and Culture, the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.
In 2013, she was appointed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to advice and transpose and harmonise for Lesotho, its data protection laws. She was later appointed by the ITU as an external legal expert to assist the Kingdom of Swaziland, as it then was called, to transpose and harmonise its data protection laws, including training its local lawyer.
Advocate Mophethe has great experience in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. She has sat as an arbitrator, including as a Lesotho High Court appointed arbitrator in a construction contract dispute.
Advocate Mophethe is a founder member and current treasurer of the Lesotho Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Lesotho, an organisation championing the rights of women and girls and disadvantaged communities and people. She has produced simplified versions of the relevant laws and has also facilitated trainings.
Furthermore, she has been a lecturer in Labour Law at the Lesotho Institute of Public Administration and Management (LIPAM).
She has co-founded a number of companies including:
- Women Unlimited (Pty) Ltd which was a company that organised the first women’s symposium in Lesotho to celebrate women’s day and subsequently published a magazine, the first of its kind then, celebrating women achievers;
- Bokamoso (Pty) Ltd a tour operation company;
- Renaissance (Pty) Ltd, a Coffee Shop and Café, the first of its kind in Lesotho.
Advocate Mophethe has contributed to a Chapter in a book entitled ‘African Data Privacy Laws’ under the Law-Governance and Technology series, edited by a doctoral student at the University of Bremen, Germany and published by Springer in 2016.
She has also served on the 13th Council of the National University of Lesotho and some of its sub-committees.