Play by the rules mr Prime min­is­ter

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

AS re­ported else­where in this edition, Prime Min­is­ter Thomas has gone on to ap­point King’s Coun­sel (KC) Kananelo Mos­ito as the new pres­i­dent of the Court of Ap­peal de­spite protes­ta­tions from var­i­ous quar­ters. his ap­point­ment, which was sealed by a gov­ern­ment gazette is­sued on Fri­day last week, has al­ready torched a storm, with five top lawyers up in arms over the mat­ter.

The gazette also an­nounced the ap­point­ment of Mohlalefi Moteane as mem­ber of the Coun­cil of the State.

While we hold noth­ing against Messrs Mos­ito and Moteane in their per­sonal ca­pac­i­ties, their ap­point­ment goes against the letter and spirit of the elec­toral Pledge which is meant to, among other things, cre­ate a cli­mate con­ducive to the hold­ing of elec­tions.

The five lawyers who have queried Ad­vo­cate Mos­ito’s ap­point­ment, namely KC Sale­mane Phafane, Motiea Teele, Zwelakhe Mda, Karabo Mo­hau and At­tor­ney Qhale­hang Let­sika, rightly ar­gue that gov­ern­ment can­not make such a cru­cial de­ci­sion since it is only rul­ing on a care­taker ba­sis fol­low­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of par­lia­ment on 5 De­cem­ber 2014.

It is just but one of the many rea­sons the ap­point­ment is con­tentious.

In­deed, the hur­ried ap­point­ment is likely to not only bring the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice into dis­re­pute but also cast doubts on the cred­i­bil­ity of the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 elec­tions.

Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane’s crit­ics have al­ready ac­cused him of mak­ing po­lit­i­cally-mo­ti­vated ap­point­ments and us­ing the ad­van­tage of in­cum­bency to tilt the elec­toral scales in his favour.

The elec­toral Pledge, to which Dr Tha­bane along with other party lead­ers is a sig­na­tory, is un­equiv­o­cal on the is­sue of ap­point­ments dur­ing the tran­si­tional pe­riod.

It calls on gov­ern­ment to “re­frain from un­der­tak­ing any ac­tions that may un­der­mine the sta­bil­ity of the in­sti­tu­tions of the state, in­clud­ing the re­moval, ap­point­ment, de­mo­tion or pro­mo­tion of key of­fi­cials within the state dur­ing the pe­riod prior to the elec­tions, sub­ject to due and le­gal process be­ing fol­lowed”.

how­ever, as leader of the care­taker gov­ern­ment, Dr Tha­bane has since pro­moted Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent holomo Moli­beli to the post of deputy com­mis­sioner of po­lice and Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary for Cabi­net Ad­min­is­tra­tion Motha­bathe hlalele.

Added to that, the pre­mier also at­tempted to re­call Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) Com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana from his spe­cial leave in Al­ge­ria in con­tra­ven­tion of the Maseru Se­cu­rity Ac­cord (MSA).

Under the MSA, se­cu­rity bosses were re­quired to go to an African or Com­mon­wealth coun­try to al­low the restora­tion of peace be­tween the LMPS and Le­sotho De­fence Force, whose con­tin­ued feud­ing — mainly due to per­son­al­ity clashes be­tween Com­mis­sioner Tšooana and Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli — had brought Le­sotho to the brink of civil war.

The elec­toral Pledge is also very clear on the need to re­spect and pro­mote the in­de­pen­dence of the In­de­pen­dent elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC) and sup­port the body in its man­date to fa­cil­i­tate the hold­ing of free and fair elec­tions.

Fol­low­ing the Iec’s or­der for Spe­cial Projects de­part­ment in the pre­mier’s of­fice to stop of­fer­ing gifts to vil­lagers around the coun­try ahead of the elec­tions Dr Tha­bane ac­cused the elec­toral body of “pro­vok­ing” him.

The newly-ap­pointed PS, Mr hlalele, even ac­cused the IEC of “snoop­ing” on the pre­mier’s of­fice yet it is the body’s pre­rog­a­tive to en­sure all the can­di­dates do not get an un­fair ad­van­tage.

We couldn’t agree with IEC Com­mis­sioner Makase nyaphisi who re­cently said the per­cep­tion of vote buy­ing, which was be­ing made by the PM’S Of­fice’s of­fer­ing of gifts, had the po­ten­tial of un­der­min­ing “what al­ready is a del­i­cate elec­toral process”.

Ul­ti­mately, Dr Tha­bane needs to abide by what he signed up to. he surely can­not have his cake and eat it too. The pre­mier’s man­date is clear under this tran­si­tional arrangement; steer the ship to the 28th of Fe­bru­ary with as lit­tle ad­just­ment as pos­si­ble.

he can­not con­tinue chang­ing the goal posts at such a crit­i­cal point in this coun­try since he is also a con­tes­tant.

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