Judge­ment re­served in LPC case

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

HIGH Court judge Jus­tice ‘Mase­shophe Hla­joane on Mon­day re­served judge­ment to a ten­ta­tive date of 29 Septem­ber 2016 in a case in which two fac­tions of the Le­sotho Peo­ple’s Congress (LPC) are locked in a lead­er­ship bat­tle.

Jus­tice Hla­joane said she might de­liver the judge­ment be­fore, af­ter or on the ex­act date be­cause she had other judge­ments al­ready lined up.

The loom­ing judge­ment is on an ap­pli­ca­tion by the LPC Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) to in­ter­dict party leader Mo­lahlehi Let­lotlo and his co-re­spon­dents from hold­ing a spe­cial con­fer­ence in Maseru on 31 Oc­to­ber to 1 Novem­ber 2015.

The LPC and its NEC on 30 Oc­to­ber 2015 ob­tained an in­terim High Court or­der block­ing Mr Let­lotlo, who is also So­cial De­vel­op­ment min­is­ter, and five other NEC mem­bers namely Ma­bala Maqelepo, Ma­ballo Moli­beli, ‘Makopano Sekhobo, ‘Male­seli Le­seli and Tseko Koan­tle from hold­ing the con­fer­ence that was sched­uled for Lake­side Ho­tel un­til the ap­pli­ca­tion filed be­fore the court had been fi­nalised.

The min­is­ter was also in­ter­dicted from ac­cess­ing the LPC’S bank ac­count pend­ing the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the ap­pli­ca­tion.

LPC deputy leader, Mabusetsa Makhar­ilele, sought the in­ter­dict on be­half of the NEC and LPC as an in­sti­tu­tion. In his af­fi­davit to sup­port the ap­pli­ca­tion, Mr Makhar­ilele said the LPC’S trou­bles reached boil­ing point when Mr Let­lotlo dis­missed party sec­re­tary-gen­eral Moipone Piti and pub­lic­ity sec­re­tary Bokang Ra­matšella in Oc­to­ber 2015.

The court ap­pli­ca­tion was a con­tin­u­a­tion of the bit­ter in­fight­ing within the LPC which has since seen the NEC writ­ing to Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili urg­ing him to fire Mr Let­lotlo as min­is­ter be­cause the party had lost con­fi­dence in his lead­er­ship.

The NEC ar­gued Mr Let­lotlo’s ap­point­ment was due to his lead­er­ship of the LPC, which gave him the party’s sin­gle Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion seat in the 120-seat Na­tional Assem­bly af­ter the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap elec­tions.

Lawyers rep­re­sent­ing the LPC and its NEC as well as Mr Let­lotlo and his co-re­spon­dents made their arguments be­fore Jus­tice Hla­joane on Mon­day.

The lawyer rep­re­sent­ing LPC and its NEC, At­tor­ney Qhale­hang Let­sika, told the judge Mr Let­lotlo did not have pow­ers to call for a con­fer­ence in Oc­to­ber last year.

“No one has a right to con­vene a con­fer­ence, but only the Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee through the sec­re­tary-gen­eral,” he ar­gued.

At­tor­ney Let­sika also said the com­mit­tee that made a res­o­lu­tion for the con­ven­ing of the Oc­to­ber con­fer­ence, con­sist­ing of Te­lang Pule and ‘Ma­paseka Mothae, did not qual­ify to be mem­bers of the com­mit­tee.

Mr Pule and Ms Mothae at­tended the com­mit­tee meet­ing that re­solved to con­vene the con­fer­ence in Oc­to­ber 2015.

But At­tor­ney Let­sika ar­gued they were not le­git­i­mate mem­bers be­cause they did not qual­ify to be mem­bers of the NEC ac­cord­ing to the LPC’S con­sti­tu­tion.

On the other hand, the lawyer rep­re­sent­ing Mr Let­lotlo and other re­spon­dents, Ad­vo­cate Zwe­lakhe Mda King’s Coun­sel (KC) said the case had been over­taken by events be­cause the con­fer­ence the ap­pli­cants wanted to stop was sched­uled for last year.

“I think we should now fo­cus on the is­sue of costs be­cause this ap­pli­ca­tion has been over­taken by events. The only is­sue that I think should be ar­gued is the ques­tion of costs,” he said.

“I sub­mit that this ap­pli­ca­tion should be dis­missed with costs, but the costs should be paid by de­po­nents in the ap­pli­ca­tion.”

Ad­vo­cate Mda KC fur­ther ar­gued some in­di­vid­u­als hid be­hind the name of the party and NEC to bring the ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore court.

How­ever, Jus­tice Hla­joane said she would de­liver the judge­ment on, be­fore or af­ter 29 Septem­ber this year.

“This is a ten­ta­tive date and not fixed be­cause I might give the judge­ment ei­ther af­ter or be­fore the date,” she said.

LPC pub­lic­ity sec­re­tary Bokang Ra­matšella.

LPC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Moipone Piti.

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