State bod­ies must re­main apo­lit­i­cal

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

AP­PEAL Court Pres­i­dent, Jus­tice Kananelo Mos­ito, is fight­ing on many fronts to save his job. As re­ported in this edi­tion, Jus­tice Mos­ito was given seven days by Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili to give rea­sons why he should not be fired for “mis­be­haviour and/or in­abil­ity to per­form the func­tions of your of­fice”.

On the other hand, he also has to con­tend with Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP), King’s Coun­sel Le­aba Thet­sane’s de­ci­sion to pros­e­cute him for the al­leged late fil­ing of tax re­turn forms for his law firm, KEM Cham­bers, for the past 19 years. What is patently clear is that gov­ern­ment wants to see the back of Jus­tice Mos­ito and is pulling all the stops to en­sure it hap­pens soon.

How­ever, what is dis­con­cert­ing in this soap opera is that the vi­cious cy­cle of state in­sti­tu­tions and in­stru­ments be­ing used to achieve cer­tain ends is not end­ing any time soon.

Granted, gov­ern­ment has the pre­rog­a­tive and right to ap­point and dis­ap­point. How­ever, the process of dis­missal needs to re­main above board to en­sure the pub­lic con­tin­ues to trust state in­sti­tu­tions. If al­lowed to fes­ter, the use of state in­sti­tu­tions to set­tle po­lit­i­cal or other scores can sound the death knell for Le­sotho’s democ­racy. In some coun­tries in Africa and be­yond, tyran­ni­cal regimes have meted out sys­tem­atic re­pres­sion to peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions which dare to op­pose their rule. For in­stance, in such coun­tries as Zim­babwe and Uganda, state in­sti­tu­tions such as the ju­di­ciary are so com­pro­mised that charges against the rul­ing elite’s op­po­nents are clearly planned and di­rected by the ex­ec­u­tive.

For Ugan­dan op­po­si­tion leader, Kizza Be­si­gye, his ar­rests for var­i­ous spu­ri­ous charges usu­ally co­in­cide with the hold­ing of elec­tions in the East African coun­try. The same goes for his Zim­bab­wean coun­ter­part Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai in Zim­babwe who has been charged with trea­son, in­sur­rec­tion and many other lu­di­crous ac­cu­sa­tions which could not stand in any de­cent court of law.

While th­ese ex­am­ples may seem far re­moved from Le­sotho and its seem­ingly more civilised po­lit­i­cal sys­tem, they high­light the fact that the ero­sion of the rule of law is a slip­pery slope which is dif­fi­cult to come back from.

Ven­er­a­ble of­fices such as those of the DPP and the at­tor­ney gen­eral should con­tinue to be per­ceived as jus­ti­cia­ble and cater­ing for the needs of all Ba­sotho re­gard­less of po­lit­i­cal per­sua­sion. What Le­sotho can­not af­ford is for state in­sti­tu­tions to be seen as op­er­at­ing ac­cord­ing to the whims and caprices of the gov­ern­ment in power.

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