Suspended BNP sec­re­tary gen­eral to know fate

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

The high Court is to­mor­row ex­pected to hear a case in which Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) sec­re­tary gen­eral, Le­so­jane Leuta, is chal­leng­ing his sus­pen­sion from the party.

The BNP in­def­i­nitely suspended Mr Leuta on 26 Fe­bru­ary for al­legedly sub­mit­ting an un­sanc­tioned Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion (PR) list of the party to the In­de­pen­dent elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC), ahead of the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap elec­tions.

The party had since taken legal ac­tion against Mr Leuta for the sub­mis­sion but the high Court on 18 Fe­bru­ary dis­missed the case, on the ba­sis that the per­son who filed the ap­pli­ca­tion, party chair­per­son Nthabiseng Makoae, did not have the author­ity to do so.

But a day af­ter the judg­ment, the party’s deputy leader, Joang Mo­lapo, in­formed Mr Leuta, who was sworn-in as a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment (MP) on Tues­day this week as he was fifth on the BNP PR list, that dis­ci­plinary ac­tion would be taken against him over the same is­sue. The no­ti­fi­ca­tion was fol­lowed by a sus­pen­sion let­ter dated 26 Fe­bru­ary, and signed by Chief Mo­lapo.

How­ever, in re­sponse, Mr Leuta, through his lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Sale­mane Phafane, on 6 March filed an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion in the High Court seek­ing an or­der declar­ing the sus­pen­sion “null and void and of no legal force and ef­fect”.

Mr Leuta fur­ther wanted the court to “re­strain and in­ter­dict” Chief Mo­lapo from “in­ter­fer­ing in any man­ner what­so­ever with his membership, du­ties and func­tions in the BNP and its Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC)”, and cites the party’s NEC, BNP and Chief Mo­lapo as first to third re­spon­dent, re­spec­tively.

In his found­ing af­fi­davit, Mr Leuta ex­plains that some­time last month, he was in­structed by BNP leader, Th­e­sele ’Maserib­ane, “to whom I am accountable in terms of Sec­tion 8 (5) (i) of the con­sti­tu­tion of the BNP, to pre­pare a fi­nal PR list to be sub­mit­ted to the IEC in terms of the elec­toral Law of Le­sotho.”

Mr Leuta added he later sent the list to Chief Mo­lapo for com­ment, in line with Chief ‘Maserib­ane’s or­ders.

He noted in the af­fi­davit: “The list was duly de­liv­ered to the leader (Chief Mo­lapo) and when he did not com­ment, I pro­ceeded, as it is my duty to do so, and sub­mit­ted it to the he IEC.

“(How­ever) the in­struc­tion and com­pli­ance therein, set out herein above, ap­par­ently did not sit well ell with some mem­bers of the sec­ond re­spon­dent. nt.

“I was sub­se­quent­lyquently in­structed to writeite yet an­other let­ter with­draw­ing the fi­nal nal list afore­said, which h I did. The with­drawal l was, how­ever, not ac­cepted by the IEC for var­i­ous rea­sons, in­clud­ingding the fact that it was too late to do so.

“The list even­tu­ally tu­ally be­came a sub­ject for lit­i­ga­tion.iga­tion. The said ap­pli­ca­tion was op­posed by the IEC and my­self andd was even­tu­ally dis­missed by the hon­ourable Court on 18 Fe­bru­ary 2015.

“It is worth not­ing at this stage that I had, prior to the hear­ing of the said ap­pli­ca­tion, been in­structed by the third re­spon­dent to with­draw my op­po­si­tion to the ap­pli­ca­tion wherein I had been cited as the re­spon­dent, and I had de­clined to do so.

“Fol­low­ing the lit­i­ga­tion re­ferred to above, which lit­i­ga­tion had been in­sti­tuted against me and in which I had been suc­cess­ful, the third re­spon­dent still would not re­lent.

“On or about 19 Fe­bru­ary 2015, I re­ceived yet an­other let­ter from the third re­spon­dent pur­port­ing to act for and on be­half of the first and sec­ond re­spon­dents.

“In the let­ter, the third re­spon­dent no­ti­fied me of what he called the in­ten­tion by the sec­ond re­spon­dent to take dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against me and re­quired me to show cause why that should not be done and I duly re­sponded.

“I must point out at the out­set that the no­ti­fi­ca­tion let­ter afore­said is fa­tally flawed in that there was never a meet­ing of the sec­ond re­spon­dent which re­solved that the sup­posed dis­ci­plinary ac­tion be taken against me.

“If such a meet­ing had been called, the no­ti­fi­ca­tion would have been is­sued by me. This never hap­pened. Con­se­quently, the no­ti­fi­ca­tion afore­said was a nul­lity.

“On or about 26 Fe­bru­ary 2015, I re­ceived yet an­other let­ter from the third re­spon­dent. In this let­ter, the third re­spon­dent pur­ports to act for and on be­half of the sec­ond re­spon­dent, and claims he is con­vinced that dis­ci­plinary ac­tion should be taken against me.

“Fur­ther­more, the third re­spon­dent pur­port­ing to act un­der Sec­tion 9 (12) of the BNP Con­sti­tu­tion and again pur­port­ing to act on the ad­vice of the sec­ond re­spon­dent, has pur­ported to sus­pend me from the sec­ond re­spon­dent and all du­ties of the first re­spon­dent with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

“The pur­ported sus­pen­sion is null and void and of no legal force and ef­fect for the fol­low­ing rea­sons: firstly, the third re­spon­dent has pur­ported to ex­er­cise the pow­ers which he does not have.

“The pow­ers un­der Sec­tion 9 (12) of the con­sti­tu­tion of the first re­spon­dent are specif­i­cally con­ferred on the leader of the BNP and not any other per­son.

“The leader of the BNP is and has, at all ma­te­rial times hereto, been present. I know this for a fact as the sec­re­tary gen­eral of the party. Con­se­quently, the third re­spon­dent has acted ul­tra vires his pow­ers.

“he has usurped the pow­ers of the pres­i­dent of the party and that is not per­mis­si­ble in law.”

The sus­pen­sion, Mr Leuta fur­ther noted, came at a crit­i­cal time when party mem­bers on the PR list were due to be sworn-in as par­lia­men­tar­i­ans.

“I have rea­sons to be­lieve that the pur­ported sus­pen­sion is but a ploy by the third re­spon­dent to have me ex­cluded from party mem­bers due to be sworn-in as MPS,” Mr Leuta added.

Mean­while, the Le­sotho Times is re­li­ably in­formed that At­tor­ney Khotso Ntho-ntho on Tues­day filed an an­swer­ing af­fi­davit on be­half of the re­spon­dents.

Chief Jus­tice Nthomeng Ma­jara is set to hear the case.

SUSPENDED BNP sec­re­tarygen­eral Le­so­jane Leuta

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