Start preparing divorce papers

Start preparing divorce papers

THE decision by the Professor Nqosa Mahao-led faction to “suspend” party leader, Thomas Thabane, for six years represents yet another escalation in the battle for the control of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party.
In one simple stroke, Professor Mahao, who appears to have the political momentum, has moved to tighten his grip on the party amid a vigorous fight-back through the courts by Thabane and his loyalists.
And true to style, Acting Chief Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase, did not disappoint when she last week ruled in Thabane’s favour in a controversial judgment that has been dismissed by her critics as clearly partisan.
It is not without basis that Justice Mahase’s critics accuse her of fighting in Thabane’s corner. The Mahao camp have accused the honorable judge of being thoroughly compromised.

We are not surprised that with this back and forth in the courts of law. The next theatre of the struggle now appears to be swiftly shifting to determining who sits on top of the pile at the Court of Appeal.
We are also not surprised that the Thabane camp is now laying the groundwork for the ouster of Justice Kananelo Mosito who has delivered a number of key judgments that were at cross-purposes with the premier’s push for political hegemony in Lesotho.
That to us is really sad.

The plot against Justice Mosito is a betrayal of the values we thought the ABC stands for – key among which was respect for the independence of the judiciary.
What makes this sad is that this is the same party that pushed so hard to get Justice Mosito into office through its “Hands off Mosito” campaign.
It would now appear that the push to kick out Justice Mosito is nothing but part of a grand strategy to capture the judiciary. They want a pliant judiciary that dances to their tune. They want nobbled judges who will deliver favourable judgments.

That to us is really scary.
That is why this push to kick out the judge on what appears to be very spurious grounds must be resisted. Such an attack on the President of the Court of Appeal would represent the most vicious and naked assault on our democracy.

It is also clear that our toxic politics are beginning to infect our judiciary. The consequences of such a scenario are just too ghostly to contemplate.
The stakes are quite high for Thabane and his group. We know that the suspension, if it holds, could sound the death knell for Thabane’s decades-long political career.
By the end of the suspension period, Thabane would be 86, too frail to pose any threat politically.
As we watch the events of the last five months, we have come to one conclusion – that the rift between the two factions is now so deep that it might never be healed.

With that in mind, the sooner the two sides start preparing their divorce papers, the better. This will of course be a messy divorce.
Yet this divorce, acrimonious as it might be, could ultimately be in the best interests of the two parties.
As we have argued in previous editorials, the courts are not in the best of positions to resolve this leadership squabble. This dispute can and will only be effectively settled politically.
That is why the order by SADC envoy, Justice Moseneke, to re-open Parliament by the first week of August is crucial. Parliament, as the supreme voice of the people, must now deal with the matter once and for all.


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