Vic­tory for re­called diplo­mats

Lesotho Times - - News - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE long-awaited High Court judg­ment for six diplo­mats who were chal­leng­ing gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to ter­mi­nate their tour of duty pre­ma­turely was fi­nally de­liv­ered in their fa­vor yes­ter­day.

Bothata Tsikoane ( New Delhi, In­dia), ’ Male­jaka Le­tooane (Pre­to­ria, South Africa), Mophethe Seka­mane (Pre­to­ria, South Africa), Dr ’Maba­phuthi Moorosi-mo­lapo (Malaysia), Nkopane Monyane (Geneva, Switzer­land) and Ler­ato Tšosane (Dur­ban, South Africa), were re­called through let­ters dated 21 Au­gust 2015, and asked to re­port to the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions head­quar­ters on 9 Novem­ber 2015.

How­ever, the diplo­mats’ lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Mon­a­heng Seeiso Rasekoai of Phoofolo As­so­ci­ates, chal­lenged the re­call, ar­gu­ing the move was po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated. He noted in his ap­pli­ca­tion that the de­ci­sion had “rip­ple ef­fects of rup­tur­ing one of the pil­lars of the King­dom’s for­eign re­la­tions”.

Ad­vo­cate Rasekoai also said gov­ern­ment should not pro­ceed with the “large-scale ter­mi­na­tion” of the con­tracts which he noted was “po­lit­i­cally-bi­ased.”

He prayed for the court to “in­ter­dict the re­spon­dents (Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, the min­istry’s Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary and At­tor­ney Gen­eral) from ex­e­cut­ing the pro­posal to re­call and or ter­mi­nate the ap­pli­cants’ em­ploy­ment from For­eign Ser­vice,” and “de­clare the de­ci­sion to re­call the ap­pli­cants as breach of con­tract of their em­ploy­ment”.

Ad­vo­cate Rasekoai also wanted the court to de­clare the re­call “both se­lec­tive and dis­crim­i­na­tory in na­ture, hence un­law­ful”.

He con­tin­ued: “There are three other diplo­mats who were en­gaged by the gov­ern­ment in sim­i­lar posts but have been se­lec­tively left out and their ap­point­ments re­main in­tact.

“The said diplo­mats are Ad­vo­cate Kele­bone Maope (KC) who is in New York rep­re­sent­ing Le­sotho in the United Na­tions, High Com­mis­sioner in China Mpeo Ma­hase- Moiloa, and Le­bo­hang Ntšinyi who is the am­bas­sador of Le­sotho in Bel­gium.

“The am­bas­sadors who have been se­lec­tively left out from re­call are politi­cians who are aligned to the rul­ing regime.

“It can safely be con­cluded that the se­lec­tive, dis­crim­i­na­tory and ar­bi­trary de­ci­sion-mak­ing process re­lat­ing to the ter­mi­na­tion of the diplo­matic posts of all the ap­pli­cants is driven and in­spired by po­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions than any­thing else.”

Jus­tice Hla­joane yes­ter­day ruled: “The pro­posed let­ters of re­call have the ef­fect of ter­mi­na­tion of af­fi­davits’ em­ploy­ments on for­eign du­ties and the ter­mi­na­tion can only be made on good cause, and not on po­lit­i­cal rea­sons.

“There­fore, the re­spon­dents are in­ter­dicted from ex­e­cut­ing the re­call of the ap­pli­cants. “The ap­pli­cants’ ap­pli­ca­tion is granted with costs to the ap­pli­cants. The ef­fect of this judg­ment is that the ap­pli­cants re­main in their posts in the for­eign mis­sions un­til their con­tracts there ex­pire.”

Tsikoane’s con­tract ex­pires on 3 July 2016, while Monyane’s also lapses next month but the day is not in­di­cated in the court doc­u­ments.

Moorosi-mo­lapo’s em­ploy­ment comes to an end in June 2017, while Le­tooane’s con­tact ex­pires in Jan­uary 2017.

The con­tracts for Seka­mane and Tšosane have al­ready ex­pired and they are back in the coun­try.

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