MPS or­dered to pay costs

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

THE High Court on Mon­day or­dered 10 op­po­si­tion Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment to pay costs of suit af­ter they with­drew their chal­lenge of the in­def­i­nite ad­journ­ment of the Na­tional Assem­bly.

The 10 MPS last week with­drew an ap­pli­ca­tion they filed be­fore the High Court last month chal­leng­ing the in­def­i­nite ad­journ­ment of the au­gust house on 22 Novem­ber, 2016 af­ter they deemed the ap­pli­ca­tion was aca­demic since it had not been deemed when first heard by the High Court.

They lodged the ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore the High Court on 6 De­cem­ber 2016, seek­ing an or­der to com­pel Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Ntl­hoi Mot­samai (pic­tured) to re­con­vene the au­gust house.the ap­pli­cants were Sa­monyane Nt­sekele, Ma­joro Mo­hapi, Mot­lohi Maliehe, Joang Mo­lapo, ‘Mamolula Ntabe, Moshoeshoe Fako, ‘Man­thabiseng Phohleli, Tjoet­sane Seoka, Mokhele Mo­let­sane and Tieho Ma­masiane.

The ap­pli­cants were drawn from the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC), Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP), Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL) and the-then Demo­cratic Congress (DC) mem­bers who sub­se­quently joined the new­lyestab­lished Alliance of Democrats (AD).

The re­spon­dents in­cluded Ms Mot­samai, Clerk of the Na­tional Assem­bly King’s Coun­sel Fine Maema, Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili, ABC leader Thomas Tha­bane, BNP leader Chief Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane, RCL leader Keketso Ran­tšo and all other MPS.

The no­tice of with­drawal was filed in court and served to the re­spon­dents on Mon­day last week, but had to be en­dorsed by the court when the court re­con­vened on Mon­day this week.

High Court judge Jus­tice Sakoane Sakoane said the court ac­cepted the with­drawal but or­dered the 10 MPS to pay costs of suit for the em­ploy­ment of two coun­sels for the re­spon­dents. The costs are yet to be de­ter­mined.

The three High Court judges, Jus­tices Semapo Peete, Sakoane Sakoane and Le­bo­hang Mo­lete, had on 13 De­cem­ber 2016 post­poned the case to 23 Jan­uary 2017.

The case was post­poned af­ter the judges said they first wanted to hear ar­gu­mentsg from lawyers on whether the Highh Court had pow­ers to deal with par­lia­men­taryry is­sues.

The ap­pli­cants’ lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Motšoari, had filed a cer­tifi­catetifi­cate of ur­gency to ad­vance rea­sonss why he urged the court to treat the case as an ur­gent mat­ter.

He ar­gued: “The clo­sure of the Na­tional Assem­bly on the ba­sis as stated by the 1st re­spon­dent (Ms Mot­samai)) has clearly cre­ated a con- sti­tu­tional dead­lock which must be ad­dressed as a mat­ter of ur­gency be­cause there is an im­pend­ing coali­tion of other mem­bers of par­lia­ment, the le­git­i­macy of which is de­pen­dent on the open­ing and de­lib­er­a­tion of par­lia­men­tary pro­ceed­ings”. He fur­ther ar­gued: “The with­drawal of a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of the rul­ing coali­tion gov­ern­ment has clearly ne­ces­si­tated an is­sue of pub­lic in­ter­estin­teres in the sta­tus of the rul­ing gov­ern­mentern­ment thattha must be ex­pe­dited swiftly. “A new coali­tion agree­ment has been en­teredtered into by a ma­jor­ity of mem­bers of par­lia­mentlia­ment aand the clo­sure of the par­lia­ment on the ba­sisba of a stand­ing or­der which has been ir­reg­u­lar­lyir­reg ap­plied and in­ter­preted.” Ad­vo­catea Motšoari al­leged the clo­sure had cre­ated a con­sti­tu­tional im­passe in that MPS were emas­cu­lated from per­form­ing their con­sti­tu­tional man­dates. He also ar­gued that the clo­sure prej­u­diced the na­tion as there were some re­ports which had to be adopted as a mat­ter of ur­gency in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

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