Mo­sisili sues DC NEC

Premier wants party let­ter­head, stamp Seeks court’s en­dorse­ment of sus­pen­sions

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Tefo Tefo

WITH a split in the Demo­cratic Congress ( DC) all but a cer­tainty, the bat­tle for the own­er­ship of the party has be­gun in earnest with Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili (pic­tured) lodg­ing an ur­gent High Court ap­pli­ca­tion to com­pel 10 Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) mem­bers to hand over party sym­bols.

Dr Mo­sisili also seeks an en­dorse­ment by the court of his sus­pen­sion of the 10 NEC mem­bers aligned to deputy leader Monyane Moleleki, who in turn have also sus­pended him as party leader.

How­ever, the Sun­day Ex­press has also learnt that the 10 NEC mem­bers have also lodged a High Court ap­pli­ca­tion chal­leng­ing Dr Mo­sisili’s le­git­i­macy as DC leader.

The ac­ri­mony be­tween Dr Mo­sisili and the NEC was ratch­eted af­ter Mr Moleleki, who now claims to be act­ing DC leader, on Thurs­day signed a coali­tion agree­ment with the tri­par­tite op­po­si­tion bloc to oust the seven-party coali­tion gov­ern­ment led by Dr Mo­sisili.

Un­der the pact with the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion, Ba­sotho Na­tional Party and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho, Mr Moleleki would head the coali­tion for the first 18 months in the event they form gov­ern­ment.

The coali­tion pact has likely put paid to any chances of the strife­torn DC rec­on­cil­ing as the two fac­tions aligned to the two glad­i­a­tors had al­ready dug in their heels. Mr Moleleki is an avowed mem­ber of the DC’s Liru­rubele (but­ter­flies) fac­tion that is fight­ing the ( Lithope girl­friends) group­ing, which sup­ports Dr Mo­sisili, for the con­trol of the party.

The bulk of the NEC’s mem­bers, who are aligned to Mr Moleleki, on 10 Novem­ber this year with­drew the DC from the seven-party gov­ern­ing coali­tion gov­ern­ment and or­dered mem­bers, in­clud­ing Dr Mo­sisili, to re­sign from their gov­ern­ment po­si­tions. Dr Mo­sisili has since dis­missed the move as “null and void”, say­ing the NEC did not have the powers to make such a de­ci­sion.

Mr Moleleki and four other min­is­ters and deputies also re­signed from gov­ern­ment, be­fore mov­ing to the Na­tional As­sem­bly’s cross­bench to sig­nify their with­drawal from the gov­ern­ment.

The NEC went on to sus­pend Dr Mo­sisili for al­leged mis­con­duct, but the premier has in­sisted he re­mains DC leader and called for an emer­gency party con­fer­ence from 2 to 4 De­cem­ber this year to take “harsh dis­ci­plinary mea­sures” on the NEC for its de­ci­sions that are “dan­ger­ous to the party”.

He said the “so-called sus­pen­sion” was an il­le­gal at­tempt to hi­jack his con­sti­tu­tional powers as party leader by “rebels” led by Mr Moleleki.

Dr Mo­sisili said the “rebels” also in­cluded DC Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ralechate ’Mokose, Chair­per­son ’ Maboiketlo Maliehe, Deputy Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Re­filoe Litjobo, Deputy Chair­per­son Kose Makoa, Deputy Edi­tor Retšelisit­soe Masenyetse, Sec­ond Mem­ber Ndi­wuh­leli Nd­lo­mose, third mem­ber ’Mathabo Shao, fourth mem­ber Retha­bile Marumo and Youth League Pres­i­dent Thuso Litjobo.

This past week, the premier counter-sus­pended Mr Moleleki and nine other NEC mem­bers af­ter they failed to re­spond to his let­ters re­quest­ing them to mo­ti­vate why they should not be sus­pended.

In the court ap­pli­ca­tion lodged on Fri­day, Dr Mo­sisili, to­gether with DC spokesper­son Se­ri­a­long Qoo, Trea­surer ‘ Mam­phono Khaketla and ‘ Maphak­iso Moseme want the court to order the 10 NEC mem­bers to hand over the of­fi­cial let­ter­head, stamp and any other DC of­fice equip­ment pend­ing the con­ven­ing of the spe­cial con­fer­ence.

Mr Moleleki and ‘ Mokose are cited as first and sec­ond re­spon­dents, while Ms Maliehe, Mr Nd­lo­mose, Mr Makoa, Ms Marumo, Mr Masenyetse, Re­filoe and Thuso Litjobo as well as Ms Shao are cited as third to tenth re­spon­dents re­spec­tively.

In their cer­tifi­cate of ur­gency, the ap­pli­cants ar­gue Mr Moleleki is en­gaged in “on­go­ing acts of un­law­ful­ness” and “caus­ing con­fu­sion within the party”.

The ap­pli­cants also ar­gue that the 10 NEC mem­bers are “il­le­gally in­ter­fer­ing with the party pro­cesses aimed at ad­dress­ing their re­bel­lious be­hav­iour”.

Dr Mo­sisili and his co-ap­pli­cants seek an order for the re­spon­dents to be or­dered to “de­sist forth­with” from com­mu­ni­cat­ing and mak­ing pub­li­ca­tions in the name of the party pend­ing fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the case.

They also want the of­fi­cial let­ter­head and stamp, which would or­di­nar­ily be in the pos­ses­sion of the party sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Mr ‘Mokose, as the chief ad­min­is­tra­tor.

“The first to 10th re­spon­dents (should) be or­dered to re­turn the prop­erty of the 12th re­spon­dent, Demo­cratic Congress, be­ing of­fi­cial let­ter­head, the stamp and any other prop­erty used in the Demo­cratic Congress’s of­fice to the Demo­cratic Congress of­fice and to de­sist from us­ing the said prop­erty pend­ing res­o­lu­tion of their sus­pen­sion by the party’s con­fer­ence.”

Dr Mo­sisili and his co-ap­pli­cants also want the court to en­dorse his sus­pen­sion of the 10 NEC mem­bers “in terms of clause 5.3.1 (h) of the con­sti­tu­tion of the Demo­cratic Congress”.

In mo­ti­vat­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion, Dr Mo­sisili makes an af­fi­davit and sup­ported by his three co-ap­pli­cants.

Nar­rat­ing the events that led to the ap­pli­ca­tion, Dr Mo­sisili states: “On or around Sun­day the 4th Septem­ber the party, Demo­cratic Congress, held a rally at (sic) Hololo (Butha-Buthe district).

“The gen­eral be­hav­iour of some mem­bers of the party in at­ten­dance was not proper. They were hurl­ing in­sults and dis­rupt­ing the pro­ceed­ings.”

Dur­ing his ad­dress at the rally, Dr Mo­sisili was con­stantly in­ter­rupted and jeered. Some of the DC mem­bers had come to the rally wear­ing T-shirts em­bla­zoned with both Dr Mo­sisili and Mr Moleleki’s images in con­tra­ven­tion of a party di­rec­tive to only have the premier’s im­age.

As a re­sult of the dis­cord, the party sus­pended all of its ral­lies sched­uled for Septem­ber un­til the lead­er­ship con­fer­ence held the next month.

“In the af­ter­math and in terms of the con­sti­tu­tion of Demo­cratic Congress, a lead­er­ship con­fer­ence was held on the 7th, 8th and 9th Oc­to­ber 2016 at (Man­thabiseng) con­ven­tion cen­tre in the district of Maseru,” says Dr Mo­sisili.

“The mat­ters that arose in Hololo were ad­dressed. Ac­cord­ing to me the con­fer­ence ended peace­fully and the dis­putes which were oth­er­wise brew­ing were dealt with and re­solved.”

He also touches on the con­tentious 18 Septem­ber march or­gan­ised by gov­ern­ment sup­port­ers to show “full sol­i­dar­ity” with the seven-party gov­ern­ing coali­tion. Mr Moleleki was one of the se­nior DC of­fi­cials con­spic­u­ous by their ab­sence dur­ing the march, with Mr ‘Mokose dis­as­so­ci­at­ing the main coali­tion part­ner from the event.

In­stead, Mr Moleleki held a rally in his Machache con­stituency, where he told sup­port­ers he felt “in­sulted” by an in­vi­ta­tion by one of the or­gan­is­ers and Le­sotho Peo­ple’s Congress of­fi­cial, Bokang Ra­matšella, to join the protest march.

“On the 18th Septem­ber 2016, there was a pub­lic pro­ces­sion which was meant to show that the mem­bers of the pub­lic still have con­fi­dence in me as the prime min­is­ter and to the coali­tion gov­ern­ment which I lead,” says Dr Mo­sisili.

“The said pub­lic pro­ces­sion was suc­cess­fully held. I aver with cer­tainty that the 1st to the 10th re­spon­dents did not at­tend the said pub­lic pro­ces­sion de­spite pite the fact that the 1st and nd 2nd re­spon­dents werere min­is­ters of gov­ern­n­ment.

“I later on learnt that at the 1st re­spon­dent hadad not at­tended the said d pub­lic pro­ces­sion be­cause he had at­tended a rally which he had d called in his con­sti­tu­uency of Machachee #39.”

Of the NEC’s de­ci­sion to pull out of the coali­tion gov­ern­ment, the premier ar­gues it was un­pro­ce­du­ral and thus un­law­ful.

“On or around the 10th Novem­ber 2016, the 1st to the 10th re­spon­dents held a press con­fer­ence at AVANI Le­sotho ho­tel in Maseru.

“Dur­ing the said press con­fer­ence they in­di­cated that the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee of the Demo­cratic Congress an­nounced that they had re­solved to with­draw the Demo­cratic Congress from the coali­tion gov­ern­ment.

“They also ap­pealed to the min­is­ters from DC to re­sign from cab­i­net . . . I must has­ten to say I was shocked and amazed upon hear­ing of the said an­nounce­ment be­cause at the time they made such an an­nounce­ment there had not been a meet­ing of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee of the Demo­cratic Congress which dis­cussed and re­solved that the party should with­draw from the coali­tion gov­ern­ment agree­ment.

“I took the mat­ter to be a non­starter be­cause the 1st to 10th re­spon­dents had now made it patently clear that they are break­ing away from the party to form a fac­tion loyal to the 1st re­spon­dent (Mr Moleleki).”

Dr Mo­sisili says the pro­ce­dure for the call­ing of an NEC meet­ing is for the sec­re­tary-gen­eral to dis­cuss the pro­posed agenda of any meet­ing with the leader to “seek guid­ance” cit­ing clause 5.3.3 (a) of the party’s con­sti­tu­tion.

“The sec­re­tary-gen­eral would then is­sue in­vi­ta­tions to the re­spec­tive mem­bers of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee in­di­cat­ing the date, time and the agenda for dis­cus­sion.

“At such meet­ings of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, I am the chair­man of the same un­less I have in­di­cated that I would not be present and I do not at­tend af­ter such no­ti­fi­ca­tion. In that event, and only in such event, does the deputy leader as­sume the chair- man­ship of the meet­ing of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.”

He fur­ther ar­gues that in “the al­leged with­drawal” of the DC from the coali­tion gov­ern­ment, there was no meet­ing called to dis­cuss the is­sue.

“I say so be­cause the sec­re­tarygen­eral never dis­cussed the is­sue of with­drawal with me for in­clu­sion in the agenda of any meet­ing. Fur­ther, there had never been a time when let­ters of in­vi­ta­tion were is­sued out ei­ther to me or other mem­bers of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, par­tic­u­larly my co-ap­pli­cants who are mem­bers of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.

“I had never been ab­sent dur­ing the time when it is al­leged a de­ci­sion was made at any meet­ing. Con­se­quently, I ver­ily aver that no such meet­ing was held, and in the event that it was held, which is still de­nied, It was im­prop­erly held and in vi­o­la­tion of the pro­vi­sions of the con­sti­tu­tion of the DC and to that ex­tent the de­ci­sions ar­rived thereat are null and void and of no force and ef­fect.”

Dr Mo­sisili says af­ter Mr Moleleki and other min­is­ters re­signed, they con­tin­ued mak­ing me­dia an­nounce­ments about the DC.

“The pub­li­ca­tions were aimed at de­stroy­ing peace­ful re­la­tions that the Demo­cratic Congress has with its part­ners in the coali­tion gov­ern­ment,” he ar­gues.

Lawyers rep­re­sent­ing both the ap­pli­cants and re­spon­dents are ex­pected to meet in the High Court to­mor­row to ar­gue the in­terim or­ders sought by the ap­pli­cants and to map a way for­ward in the case.

Mean­while, the re­spon­dents also lodged an ap­pli­ca­tion on Fri­day chal­leng­ing Dr Mo­sisili’s le­git­i­macy as party leader, with the premier and Mr Qoo cited as first and sec­ond re­spon­dents re­spec­tively.

DC leader Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili

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