Judgment shows Mosito stood no chance

Judgment shows Mosito stood no chance

THE delay in the delivery of judgment in the Justice Kananelo Mosito’s constitutional case raised suspicions among people that there was something sinister about the whole judgment. While we remain resolute in our demands that Professor Mosito is our only choice, we respect the judgement as it stands. However, we demand that the appeal process, which Professor Mosito ought to consider taking must be as transparent as possible.

In plain language the Chief Justice must never be seen anywhere near the choice of judges to hear Prof Mosito’s appeal. Prof Mosito has never won a single case where the Chief Justice had a hand in the choice of judges. She is the head of the JSC which decides on who sits on the appeal bench.
This case was one of those which cast a dark shadow on our country’s legal system. At the end of it all this case contributes very little or no value at all to the growth of our legal knowledge. It is a case that should not have found its way into the court roll at all.

Somehow it did and once again it is the taxpayers’ money wasted defending litigation on His Majesty’s appointment which should have been respected in the first place. So much for so-called Kings’ Counsel.

There is a very dark history behind this case; so dark that if it goes in favour of the applicants it will plunge this country into judicial chaos. This is something which should have been avoided. But the appetite for revenge is a sickness of the soul. The applicants will not rest until they have got their revenge. Hopefully they are going to bite the dust this time.

The history behind this case dates as far back as 2014 when Prof Mosito was first appointed — and accordingly sworn in — as the country’s president of the Court of Appeal. His swearing-in followed an unsuccessful challenge to his appointment by the then Attorney General. He was supported in that application by the now self-exiled LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing.

The Attorney General’s case challenged the validity of the Prime Minister’s appointment arguing that it was not endorsed by the cabinet. The case also directly challenged the powers of His Majesty, the King. His Majesty signed the gazette appointing Prof Mosito. The challenge was dismissed for lack of legal substance by the High Court. The Attorney General lodged an appeal; he lost. It appeared the matter was buried for good. It was not.
The applicants seemingly could not absorb the pain and shame of losing. They waited patiently for another opportune moment to present itself — two years later it did. And they grabbed it with both hands. The architecture of hate and vengeance slowly began taking shape.

The opportunity came by way of the snap elections of 2015 after the main coalition partners in government fell out badly. The partners were ABC led by Dr Motsoahae Thabane and the rapidly shrinking LCD of Mothetjoa Metsing. Another partner was BNP but they maintained cordial relations with ABC until as we speak today.

The Attorney General and those with whom he harboured deep resentment for Prof Mosito could not thank their gods. Thabane’s public spats with Metsing provided a fertile ground for the Attorney General to prepare for another Mosito attack. The attack was purely driven by revenge and hatred.
But the fallout itself was not sufficient for the Attorney General and his henchmen to go for the kill; something else had to happen. And it did. Contrary to widely circulated advice that Lesotho’s problems did not require elections to solve them, the SADC-appointed facilitator swatted everything aside and agreed with some politicians for the country to go to the polls.

The consequences for the ABC and Lesotho’s political and security stability in general following the outcome of the polls were catastrophic. ABC lost power. Its leaders together with those of its allies scattered all over the place in fear of their lives.
Scores of innocent soldiers were also made to pay a heavy price for the ABC’s electoral defeat. The party’s defeat effectively consigned the army’s lawful commander, Lt. Gen Maaparankoe Mahao, to death. He knew it. We all did. His enemies could not hide their appetite for his blood.

Desperate to make the threshold required to form a government, the then Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili cobbled up something never seen before in history; a seven party coalition government. This government was composed of characters of such varying shades and hues that one had a hard time figuring out what bound them together.

But that was soon to be revealed; Mosito and Mahao. Driven insane by vengeance the merciless wheel of hate had begun to roll, crushing anything standing on its way. Anyone who opposed the polarising ideology of the seven party government was crushed.

Prof Mosito was soon to find himself between a rock and a hard place. He had to either fight on and be found guilty no matter what or resign to save his future. He denied his enemies the last laugh. He resigned before the tribunal findings reached His Majesty’s desk.
But for the soldiers who were selectively perceived to be loyal to Mahao, the situation was about to get even worse. Mahao had been appointed by Prime Minister Thabane to lead the army. Kamoli denied him occupancy of the seat and access to title. He was there to stay.

The tragedy of what happened to those men is well documented. The pain caused by the army on the families of these gallant heroes is too painful to recount. With political power back in control of those who shared his views on Prof Mosito’s elimination, the Attorney General felt emboldened. He quickly got to work with plenty of willing friends; and they were many.

Where was Prof Mosito when the team was being assembled to crush him? He was outnumbered and alone with only the power of the rule of law as his comfort. Sadly for him his enemies were willing to crush him; rule of law or no rule of law. It meant very little to them. Vengeance and hatred were their guiding lights.

The team ready to begin, the Attorney General wrote a memo to then Prime Minister to inform him that he was ready to put the “project” in motion. The memo came with a warning that the battle to remove Prof Mosito was likely to be bloody and nasty but would ultimately be won nonetheless.
At least M14 million of taxpayers’ money was going to secure the desired results. The enemy (Mosito) was finally was finally going to be crushed into the thinnest judicial powder. All sorts of excuses were advanced to justify fighting a man with a heart as pure as those of angels in heaven.

Presumably with a huge smile on his face, the former PM did not hesitate to secure funding for the “project”. This was a moment all had been waiting for. The Attorney General could not be delayed. Prof Mosito’s day of reckoning had come and he was going to get his just desserts.
Stubborn children learn the hard way who calls the shots in the house. Prof Mosito was about to get his lesson on good behaviour. And he did. Or did he?
Looking at the assembled team one wonders what chance Prof Mosito stood. Such a formidable force comprising the AG, the DPP, senior counsels from a South African law firm, senior private lawyers, government ministers and marauding armies of party funded loyalists with tongues sharper than the bite of a rattlesnake could not lose a war of attrition.

These reinforcements had to be called in if victory was to be assured. Failure to secure victory against the enemy would have had catastrophic consequences on the psyche of the attacker. The enemy posed real danger to the survival of the attacker.

Vicious marauding bands of the seven party government, fully trained in the art of profanity, were dispatched to supporting radio stations to spread a single-line message: the enemy had to be crushed by any means necessary.

Recall that Metsing had attached his affidavit in 2014 in a case where the Attorney General was challenging Prof Mosito’s appointment. He was now the deputy prime minister, a development which worked wonders for the Attorney General’s project.

Imagine how pleased the deputy prime minister must have been when the Attorney General told him he was not yet finished with the enemy. He wanted to have a second bite of the cherry. The enemy was just too tasty to be left alone.

The team was a very powerful army indeed. It was not a coincidence that they willingly agreed to offer a helping hand to the Attorney General. They were going to find “top notch” judges to sit on the impeachment tribunal. These judges would later determine Prof Mosito’s future as a judge. The enemy was surrounded. Prof Mosito had no place to hide.

It did not come as a surprise then when “top notch” judges easily found Prof Mosito guilty as charged. Finding Mosito guilty was a stroll in the park. Effortless. As such it did not come as a surprise again when the four senior lawyers, some of whom represented a polarising figure called Kennedy Kamoli in the Phumaphi commission, threw their weight behind Prof Mosito’s impeachment.
It is also not surprising that it is the same lawyers who were behind this latest court challenge.

Thato Damane

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