Mo­choboroane fights back

…in­sists he did not va­cate min­is­te­rial post fol­low­ing ad­vice from premier

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

LE­SOTHO Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) deputy spokesper­son, Se­libe Mo­choboroane, says he only ig­nored his dis­missal as Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Min­is­ter after be­ing told to do so by Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane.

Mr Mo­choboroane made this al­le­ga­tion in an an­swer­ing af­fi­davit filed be­fore the High Court this week in re­sponse to a law­suit brought against him by Dr Tha­bane, the gov­ern­ment sec­re­tary and at­tor­ney gen­eral.

In the ap­pli­ca­tion filed on Fri­day last week, Dr Tha­bane wants Mr Mo­choboroane to va­cate the min­is­te­rial post as he fired him on 16 Oc­to­ber 2014.

Dr Tha­bane also wants Mr Mo­choboroane to va­cate gov­ern­ment’s Maseru West res­i­dence, and hand over state prop­erty in his pos­ses­sion, which in­cludes ve­hi­cles and a cell-phone.

How­ever, High Court judge, Jus­tice Teboho Moiloa, on Mon­day dis­missed Dr Tha­bane’s claim that the mat­ter should be treated as ur­gent on the grounds that it was brought to court almost a month after Mr Mo­choboroane had de­fied the ex­pul­sion.

The judge then post­poned the case to March next year.

But in his an­swer­ing af­fi­davit, Mr Mo­choboroane ex­plained why he con­tin­ued oc­cu­py­ing the of­fice de­spite the prime min­is­ter’s ex­pul­sion let­ter.

“I first met the prime min­is­ter on17 Oc­to­ber 2014 dur­ing lunch-break, be­ing the day Par­lia­ment was re-opened.

“The prime min­is­ter was sit­ting at the same ta­ble with the Deputy Pres­i­dent of South Africa (Cyril Ramaphosa), pres­i­dent of the se­nate, speaker of the na­tional assem­bly, and the deputy prime min­is­ter.

“The prime min­is­ter left his ta­ble and came to a ta­ble where I was sit­ting with Min­is­ter (‘Mak­a­belo) Mosothoane and Min­is­ter (‘Mate­batso) Doti.

“When he got to the ta­ble, he told me that I should pro­ceed with my nor­mal min­is­te­rial du­ties and ig­nore the let­ter he had writ­ten me, and that he was at­tend­ing to the mat­ter.

“He spoke briefly and I thanked him. He re­turned back to his ta­ble. We even com­mented about the mat­ter with Hon­ourable Mosothoane after he had left.

“I thought it was fit­ting that he had said this in the pres­ence of Hon­ourable Mosothoane, in as much as in a let­ter writ­ten to the deputy prime min­is­ter (Mo­th­etjoa Mets­ing), she had been ap­pointed as care­taker in the min­istry, pend­ing a re­place­ment be­ing pro­vided by the hon­ourable deputy prime min­is­ter and leader of the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD),” Mr Mo­choboroane stated in the af­fi­davit.

What re­mained, Mr Mo­choboroane added, was for Dr Tha­bane to re­peal the Gazette which re­moved him from of­fice.

He fur­ther ar­gued: “I have in­deed not chal­lenged the said in­stru­ments in light of the agree­ments reached be­tween his ex­cel­lency the deputy pres­i­dent of the repub­lic of South Africa, the right hon­ourable prime min­is­ter and hon­ourable deputy prime min­is­ter, that I should con­tinue in of­fice and that the first ap­pli­cant (Dr Tha­bane) would ad­vise His Majesty to ac­cord­ingly cause the re­peal of the two le­gal no­tices Nos 83 and 84 of 2014.”

Mr Mo­choboroane re­futed Dr Tha­bane’s al­le­ga­tions that he re­fused to co­op­er­ate, not­ing: “I did not pub­licly state that I would not co­op­er­ate nor have there been any ne­go­ti­a­tions made with me.

“The agree­ment to let me con­tinue to op­er­ate as min­is­ter was made ear­lier on and I did not have to em­bark on any act of de­fi­ance.

“I have con­tin­ued on the fiat of the first ap­pli­cant (Dr Tha­bane) to work as a Min­is­ter.”

He also stated that on 16 Oc­to­ber 2014, he was in­formed by Mr Mets­ing that he had not been con­sulted about the decision to ter­mi­nate his ap­point­ment and that there had been no agree­ment on the is­sue.

Mr Mo­choboroane’s ar­gu­ment de­rives from the agree­ment upon which the coali­tion gov­ern­ment was founded in 2012, which pro­vided for con­sul­ta­tion be­tween the three coali­tion part­ners re­gard­ing key decision-mak­ing.

Mr Mo­choboroane fur­ther re­ferred the court to Mr Mets­ing’s sup­port­ing af­fi­davit which he said con­firmed his law­ful oc­cu­pa­tion of the min­is­te­rial po­si­tion.

In his sup­port­ing af­fi­davit, Mr Mets­ing crit­i­cised Dr Tha­bane for what he con­sid­ered con­sis­tent vi­o­la­tion of the Coali­tion Agree­ment which brought the tri­par­tite gov­ern­ment com­pris­ing the premier’s All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC), Ba­sotho Na­tional Party ( BNP) and LCD, to power after the 26 May 2012 gen­eral elec­tion had pro­duced a hung par­lia­ment.

Mr Mets­ing noted in his sup­port­ing af­fi­davit: “The first ap­pli­cant, as prime min­is­ter and leader of the ABC, has con­sis­tently and per­sis­tently acted in vi­o­la­tion of the Coali­tion Agree­ment on the ba­sic is­sues of con­sul­ta­tion and col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“For the present how­ever, we are con­cerned with the pur­ported dis­missal of hon­ourable Mo­choboroane.” Nar­rat­ing the events which led to Mr Mo­choboroane’s dis­missal, Mr Mets­ing stated: “Dur­ing a Cab­i­net meet­ing of 17 Oc­to­ber 2014, cab­i­net min­is­ters from the ABC led by hon­ourable Min­is­ter Maliehe, asked whether a min­is­ter who had dis­re­spected His Majesty should be al­lowed to re­main in Cab­i­net.

“Since the is­sue arose with­out no­tice, I asked that it could not be raised with­out no­tice and that we had an op­tion of pro­ceed­ing with the Cab­i­net meet­ing with­out re­fer­ring to it; or to post­pone the meet­ing so that a proper no­tice could be given or al­low the Coali­tion Lead­ers (Dr Tha­bane, Mr Mets­ing and BNP leader Th­e­sele ‘ Maserib­ane) to dis­cuss the is­sue out­side Cab­i­net as it was not a mat­ter for Cab­i­net.

“At this time, we did not know what min­is­ter was be­ing re­ferred to or what the al­le­ga­tions against him were.”

Mr Mets­ing added it was agreed that the coali­tion lead­ers should dis­cuss the is­sue among them­selves on 9 Oc­to­ber 2014 at State House at 8am, but al­leges his coali­tion part­ners did not turn up.

He noted: “On 9 Oc­to­ber 2014, I pre­sented my­self at State House at the agreed time. Hon­ourable (Th­e­sele) ‘Maserib­ane never turned up. The right hon­ourable prime min­is­ter was said to be ill and could not see me. I had to leave.

“At 9am, the same day I had an ap­point­ment to ap­pear be­fore His Majesty, and on do­ing so I re­ported the is­sue raised in Cabi- net and the decision that was taken thereat as out­lined above, in­clud­ing a failed meet­ing that was sched­uled for the same morn­ing.

“As was his right, His Majesty de­manded that the Re­spon­dent (Mr Mo­choboroane) should ap­pear be­fore him so that he could brief him on the is­sue.”

Mr Mets­ing fur­ther noted in his af­fi­davit that the fol­low­ing Tues­day, the coali­tion lead­ers told the min­is­ters that they did not meet to dis­cuss the is­sue.

The three coali­tion lead­ers were ex­cused from the meet­ing and the Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Ser­vice Mot­lo­h­eloa Phooko took charge by chair­ing the Cab­i­net meet­ing, Mr Mets­ing added.

Mr Mets­ing fur­ther said the coali­tion lead­ers held their own meet­ing where they called Mr Maliehe to ex­plain the na­ture of his com­plaint against Mr Mo­choboroane.

He stated that Mr Maliehe told the lead­ers he was com­plain­ing about ut­ter­ances Mr Mo­choboroane had made over a lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion where he al­legedly said “the right hon­ourable prime min­is­ter had not prop­erly ad­vised His Majesty the King on the is­sue of the re­moval of the com­man­der of the LDF (Le­sotho De­fence Force) Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Ko­moli.”

Mr Mets­ing con­tends they agreed to call Mr Mo­choboroane to present his case be­fore them but not that day. The date on which Mr Mo­choboroane should ap­pear be­fore them was never fixed, he added.

“Be­fore that could hap­pen, I heard over Har­vest FM that hon­ourable Mo­choboroane had been ex­pelled from his po­si­tion of min­is­ter,” Mr Mets­ing stated.

He also said after the ra­dio an­nounce­ment, he re­ceived a let­ter from Dr Tha­bane in­form­ing him that he had ex­pelled Mr Mo­choboroane and that he should sub­mit a re­place­ment at once.

“I tried to con­tact the first ap­pli­cant (Dr Tha­bane) on his cel­lu­lar phone with­out suc­cess.

“I then sought and was granted au­di­ence be­fore His Majesty and brought the is­sue to his at­ten­tion.

“I ex­plained that this was done con­trary to, not just our Coali­tion Agree­ment re­quir­ing prior con­sul­ta­tions and agree­ment, but the due process that was agreed to be given to re­spon­dent (Mr Mo­choboroane).”

He ar­gued Mr Ramaphosa in­ter­vened on the is­sue as he was in the coun­try at the time.

Mr Mets­ing added Dr Tha­bane said Mr Mo­choboroane should con­tinue as min­is­ter and un­der­took to en­sure the gazette that re­moved him from of­fice was re­pealed.

“On the same day, Hon­ourable Mo­choboroane in­formed me that the Prime Min­is­ter had con­firmed that he should pro­ceed with his du­ties as Min­is­ter and ig­nore the let­ter he wrote him,” he stated.

Mean­while, although the hear­ing date was set for March next year, Mr Mo­choboroane’s lawyer, Motiea Teele, told the Le­sotho Times Jus­tice Moiloa had con­sid­ered hear­ing the case next month.

“The judge has con­sid­ered bring­ing the mat­ter for­ward to the 12th of De­cem­ber. But this is yet to be com­mu­ni­cated to the other side,” he said.

When he got to the ta­ble, he told me that I should pro­ceed with my nor­mal min­is­te­rial du­ties and ig­nore the let­ter he had writ­ten me, and that he was at­tend­ing to the mat­ter.

FIRED Min­is­ter of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Se­libe Mo­choboroane.

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