LCD blasts civil so­ci­ety

. . . ac­cuses civil so­ci­ety groups of su­ing King Let­sie III

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) has ac­cused civil soci- ety or­gan­i­sa­tions, and by ex­ten­sion the op­po­si­tion bloc, of dou­ble stan­dards for not ex­press­ing out­rage over a court ap­pli­ca­tion that cites King Let­sie III among the re­spon­dents.

This was af­ter Devel­op­ment for Peace Ed­u­ca­tion (DPE) and Trans­forma­tion Re­source Cen­tre (TRC) filed an ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore the High Court’s Con­sti­tu­tional Di­vi­sion last week, chal­leng­ing the le­gal­ity of the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion Act No. 2 of 2016.

The civil so­ci­ety groups cite Na­tional As­sem­bly Speaker Ntl­hoi Mot­samai; Se­nate Pres­i­dent Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso; Na­tional As­sem­bly Clerk King’s Coun­sel (KC) Fine Maema; Law, Hu­man Rights and Con­sti­tu­tional Af­fairs Min­is­ter Mot­la­len­toa Letšosa; Se­nate; Na­tional As­sem­bly; Na­tional As­sem­bly Port­fo­lio Com­mit­tee on Law and Pub­lic Safety; King Let­sie III and At­tor­ney-gen­eral Tšokolo Makhethe KC as first to ninth re­spon­dents, re­spec­tively.

Ac­cord­ing to LCD spokesper­son Te­boho Sekata, the All Basotho Con­ven­tion, Basotho Na­tional Party and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho railed against Mr Makhethe KC for “su­ing the King” in a case in which the at­tor­ney-gen­eral wanted the Con­sti­tu­tional Court to nul­lify the ap­point­ment of now sus­pended Court of Ap­peal Pres­i­dent, Jus­tice Kananelo Mos­ito.

His Majesty was among the re­spon­dents in the case which Mr Makhethe KC sub­se­quently lost.

Mr Sekata said the three par­ties used the case to gain po­lit­i­cal mileage ahead of the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap polls by al­leg­ing the LCD sup­ported Mr Makhethe KC’S court ap­pli­ca­tion which “dis­re­spected” King Let­sie III.

“When they (op­po­si­tion par­ties) were in gov­ern­ment, the at­tor­neygen­eral chal­lenged the ap­point­ment of Dr Kananelo Mos­ito KC as pres­i­dent of the Court of Ap­peal,” he said.

“They went bal­lis­tic with that is­sue and even asked the elec­torate not to vote for our party as we were al­legedly dis­re­spect­ful. Since their cam­paign was con­vinc­ing, the elec­torate did not vote for us, and we ended up with two elected seats in par­lia­ment from the pre­vi­ous 12.”

Mr Sekata al­leged DPE and TRC were an ex­ten­sion of the op­po­si­tion and mak­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion on the lat­ter’s be­half.

“It is very sur­pris­ing that the very same peo­ple who are now in the op­po­si­tion have come up with a sim­i­lar ap­proach of su­ing His Majesty. This is the same King they con­vinced the na­tion shouldn’t be sued. Now, they are su­ing him and have even at­tached a found­ing af­fi­davit of Thaba Bo­siu Chief Khoa­bane Theko,” he said.

“How con­ve­nient! They even claimed the congress move­ment loathes monar­chy and yet his­tory tells us from as early as 1967 that na­tion­al­ists never liked the monar­chy.”

Mr Sekata added: “We are not kids and they shouldn’t in­sult our in­tel­li­gence. They can’t run away from the fact that they are su­ing His Majesty.”

He said civil so­ci­ety groups and the op­po­si­tion should “apol­o­gise” to the elec­torate for “feed­ing them lies” about court pro­cesses.

“We ex­pect to see th­ese or­gan­i­sa­tions and their pa­trons go­ing around the coun­try to apol­o­gise for feed­ing the elec­torate lies when they claimed the King can­not be sued.”

How­ever TRC Di­rec­tor Tšoeu Pet­lane scoffed at Mr Sekata’s al­le­ga­tions, say­ing they cited King Let­sie III in His of­fi­cial ca­pac­ity as the one re­spon­si­ble for as­sent­ing to bills from par­lia­ment.

“It would defy logic if we were to cite all the other par­ties and leave out His Majesty.

“Oth­er­wise, our ap­pli­ca­tion would be wrongly framed and not see the light of day in court,” said Mr Pet­lane.

“It should, how­ever, be clear that TRC never cam­paigned against LCD at any point in time, and for them to ex­pect that we will go around the coun­try and apol­o­gise is pre­pos­ter­ous.

“Le­sotho is a demo­cratic state and ev­ery­one has rights. So Sekata’s ex­pec­ta­tions are un­likely to ma­te­ri­alise.”

He said the LCD spokesper­son should re­veal the ev­i­dence of TRC’S cam­paign against the party.

“Un­less he quotes a day and time when TRC acted in such a man­ner, then he has no ba­sis,” Mr Pet­lane added.

For his part, DPE’S Peace Ed­u­ca­tion Re­searcher Le­mo­hang Moli­beli said he was not go­ing to com­ment on the mat­ter.

“We have been ad­vised not to elab­o­rate on this mat­ter as it is still pre­ma­ture to com­ment,” he said.

LCD spokesper­son Te­boho Sekata.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.