Di­vorce haunts Tha­bane

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

ports, Chief Mo­lapo was non-com­mit­tal.

“I don’t know the rea­sons why Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane de­cided to re­move Ms Mosothoane from be­ing act­ing (Com­mu­ni­ca­tions) min­is­ter and am not in­volved in his de­ci­sion-mak­ing process,” he said.

“The al­le­ga­tions might have con­trib­uted to the PM’S de­ci­sion but I can’t con­firm if they are true or not.”

Con­tacted for com­ment yes­ter­day, a de­fi­ant Mr Mo­choboroane said he was still Min­is­ter A LAWYER rep­re­sent­ing Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane’s es­tranged wife, Lipolelo Alice Tha­bane, has re­quested At­tor­ney Gen­eral Tšokolo Makhethe to ur­gently “fa­cil­i­tate the ap­point­ment of his client as First Lady” as per last month’s High Court judg­ment.

The High Court, on 13 Jan­uary, ruled Lipolelo is the coun­try’s of­fi­cial First Lady “and should be im­me­di­ately af­forded all the benefits she is en­ti­tled to, in­clud­ing a chauf­feur-driven gov­ern­ment ve­hi­cle and body­guard”.

The judg­ment, which came as a ma­jor blow to Dr Tha­bane’s cur­rent wife ’Maisiah Tha­bane, nèe Li­a­biloe ramo­holi, ef­fec­tively recog­nised Lipolelo as the prime min­is­ter’s right­ful spouse pending the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of a di­vorce case the pre­mier in­sti­tuted against his “ex-wife”.

De­liv­ered by Jus­tice Molefi Makara, the judg­ment fur­ther banned ’Maisiah from “per­form­ing any func­tions and ex­er­cis­ing any rights vested in the ap­pli­cant (Lipolelo) as the First Spouse in terms of Act 10 of 2011.”

Jus­tice Makara also or­dered that Dr Tha­bane and Public Ser­vice Min­is­ter Mot­lo­h­eloa Phooko should stop mak­ing any pay­ments to ’Maisiah from gov­ern­ment’s cof­fers.

Dr Tha­bane, Dr Phooko, Macedalia Fer­reira (’Maisiah’s mat­ri­mo­nial names from her pre­vi­ous mar­riage), Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary Moahloli Mphaka and Ad­vo­cate Makhethe (KC) were cited as First to Fifth re­spon­dents, re­spec­tively.

“The First, Sec­ond, Fourth and Fifth re­spon­dents are di­rected to cause the Ap­pli­cant to be given a chauf­feur-driven gov­ern­ment ve­hi­cle, a body­guard and other benefits she is en­ti­tled to in terms of Act No 10 of 2011 forth­with,” Jus­tice Makara noted.

Dr Tha­bane was also di­rected by the court to pay school fees “forth­with” for the mi­nor child (names with­held) “who is the daugh­ter of the Ap­pli­cant and First re­spon­dent.”

But Lipolelo’s lawyer, King’s Coun­sel (KC) Zwe­lakhe Mda, in his let­ter dated 3 Fe­bru­ary 2014 and also copied to Mr Mphaka, no­ti­fied Ad­vo­cate Makhethe (KC) and the Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary that the court or­der had not been com­plied with.

Ad­vo­cate Mda (KC) said: “I am act­ing on in­struc­tions from the at­tor­neys of Lipolelo Tha­bane to draw your at­ten­tion to the fol­low­ing facts: The court or­der in the above mat­ter was duly served upon the re­spon­dents on the 15 and 16 ul­timo. I at­tach the copy thereof for ease of ref­er­ence.

“re­gret­tably the First, Sec­ond, Fourth and Fifth re­spon­dents have not com­plied with the court or­der up to date. The client is anx­ious that there be com­pli­ance with the said or­der of court. While the client is loath to bring contempt pro­ceed­ings against the par­ties con­cerned, she in­structs us that she will have no al­ter­na­tive but to do so in or­der to en­force her rights and those of the mi­nor child. Please reg­u­larise the po­si­tion or cause same to be reg­u­larised as a mat­ter of agency.”

Mr Mphaka yes­ter­day con­firmed re­ceiv­ing the let­ter, telling the Le­sotho Times: “Mr Mda is sim­ply mak­ing us aware of a court or­der whose con­tents you al­ready know. And as the re­spon­dents, we ap­pre­ci­ate his con­cern be­cause it is based on court in­struc­tions. We don’t want to be seen as though we are de­fy­ing court or­ders. We are gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and should be ex­em­plary. So what I am telling you is that we are def­i­nitely go­ing to com­ply with the court or­der if we do not lodge an ap­peal.”

Asked what he meant by the last state­ment, Mr Mphaka said: “Soon the re­spon­dents will fi­nalise whether to chal­lenge the court or­der be­fore the Court of Ap­peal or com­ply”.

On his part, Ad­vo­cate Mda (KC) said: “I can con­firm that the PM has not com­plied with the court or­der. The client is con­sid­er­ing in­sti­tut­ing contempt pro­ceed­ings against the PM, who ought to lead by ex­am­ple in up­hold­ing the rule of law. She will have no op­tion but to go back to court, par­tic­u­larly in the in­ter­est of the mi­nor child. I have ap­pealed to the PM’S at­tor­neys to pre­vail over him to up­hold the rule of law.”

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