Mosisili’s attacks on us devoid of substance

Mosisili’s attacks on us devoid of substance

It was never initially our intention to find ourselves locked in a war of words with former Prime Minister Dr Pakalitha Mosisili. Our reluctance stems from our conviction that we have very little or at most nothing to gain from such engagements. It is a futile exercise and detrimental to our noble cause. We still maintain that position to date.

Dr Mosisili could have been of assistance to our cause if he had left Prof. Mosito in peace two years ago to maintain his position as president of Court of Appeal.  Instead his government went on a furious campaign of hate with such gusto and determination that Mosito was left with no other option but to resign. Even that was not enough for Dr. Mosisili.

He still advised His Majesty to fire him thereby ruining Mosito’s chances of ever again being appointed president of the Court of Appeal. The decision backfired on Dr. Mosisili.  Judge Mosito was reappointed as president of the Court of Appeal when the ABC-led government took over power from Mosisili in June last year.

Dr. Mosisli in his rambling speech just before Christmas attacks our cause to have Judge Mosito sworn in as being an affront to the independence of the judiciary. “Look who is talking” John Travolta would say in his movie of the same title. Was it not the former attorney general who advised — and got the nod — from Dr. Mosisili to set aside M14 million of taxpayers’ money to chase Judge Mosito from his position as president of the Court of Appeal?

Was it not the same AG who in the memo sent to Dr. Mosisili then assured him that he had secured “top notch” Afrikaans judges to sit on Mosito’s tribunal who would give the Mosisili-led government the outcome they wanted? And indeed they delivered. They recommended that Mosito be fired from his position.

Dr. Mosisili seems to be labouring under the misguided notion that we exist to please him. Our cause is not premised on whether he subscribes to our viewpoint or not. It’s immaterial to us whether he does or not. Our standpoint remains that the Prime Minister is enjoined by Sec 68 sub sec (1) of the constitution to appoint the president of the Court of Appeal and once that appointment is made it triggers an act on the part of the Chief Justice or whoever is acting in that position to swear in the president of the Court of Appeal.

That the Prime Minister seems reluctant to use his power to oblige the Chief Justice to carry the final leg of the tour as it were is worrisome to us.
The reason given by one who was the Acting Chief Justice in the absence of the Chief Justice herself as the core basis for declining the constitutional obligation to swear in Mosito was a “decision” reached by the majority of high court judges.

This was confirmed by the Acting Registrar of the High Court Lesitsi Mokeke. This is deeply unsettling.
We have advanced convincing arguments for our point of view in this regard in our correspondence with the Prime Minister’s office. Judges, we maintain, have no space in deciding which constitutional appointments the PM can make or not make.

Once the PM, the sole appointing authority in this case, exercises his powers under Sec 68 sub section (1) the Chief Justice has no option but to carry out the act of swearing in. No excuse except in the form of a court order or judgement barring the swearing in can absolve the Chief Justice from carrying out her or his responsibility.

Needless to say Dr. Mosisili sees no logic in any of the arguments advanced above. Judge Mosito, we submit, possesses exemplary qualities of sound leadership, immaculate morality and exceptional academic and professional achievements unlike any other on the bench as we speak.
Dr. Mosisili’s offensive tone that Judge Mosito is not the only one who possesses these qualities runs hollow. It is not unusual for Dr. Mosisili to reduce people’s dignities in singular units.

Remember how he unsuccessfully tried to trivialise former army commander Maaparankoe Mahao’s international status by reducing his death in the hands of his rogue army colleagues to a single unit derogatively saying of him: “why is there so much hullaballo over the killing of one soldier”.
Now he has turned to Mosito with the same venom arguing why so much attention is focused on him when there are others equally deserving of the position. How laughable.

Can Dr. Mosisili be kind enough to tell us who his preferred candidate for the position is so that we can compare his achievements against those of Mosito? I bet none. That is so typical of Dr. Mosisili of late.
Mosisili does not hide his deep loathing of Mosito both in public and private. His snubbing of Judge Mosito in 2015 at Setsoto Stadium where he refused to shake his hand is a case in point.

Our suspicion – and it remains a suspicion until proven otherwise – is that there is a very close relationship between Dr. Mosisili and the four lawyers who are relentlessly pursuing Prof Mosito with these litany of court challenges.
The only difference between them is the fighting turf. They use the courts while on the one hand Mosisili uses the political platform. However the target is the same: Mosito’s removal from the position at all costs.

That Mosito has now found friends willing to stand up for him against the likes of Dr. Mosisili surely irks the former Prime Minister even more.
He better make peace with his conscience since we are not going anywhere anytime soon. We shall fight for an independent and clean judiciary even if our fight puts us directly in the line of physical harm.

That is how determined we are and no intimidation of any kind is going to stop us.
We are not Dr. Mosisili’s psychologists or consultants so we cannot claim to know what is going on in his mind or offer him alternative solutions to his discomfort at seeing Mosito back at the helm of the judiciary.

But what we do know however is that we are driven by an unwavering commitment to a noble cause; a cause which enjoins all men and women of goodwill to strive for a clean judiciary. We want a judiciary whose decisions are not tainted by the stain of political or personal bias.
We have sound legal arguments to justify our position that this is attainable and it starts with the Prime Minister realising that he has sufficient constitutional powers to have Mosito sworn in. Our petition to him — which is still yet to be responded to — maintains our stance to date.

It is our submission that no judge has the authority to disobey the authority of the sitting head of government unless there are legally defensible reasons for doing so. Refusal to carry out the act of swearing Mosito in is tantamount to gross insubordination. The PM clearly knows what to do when his orders, which are enshrined in the constitution, are defiantly disobeyed.

There is a time in the life of a politician when his words and opinions matter; when they are relevant to his times.
The tragedy starts when the politician has run out of ideas, has no more relevance to the current times yet still believes that he has solutions to challenges he knows nothing about. Dr. Mosisili appears to have tragically reached this dead end.

In his unfortunate state of being self-conceited with arrogance that borders on bigotry, Dr Mosisili seems to believe that it is only him alone who can determine the future of this country and its judiciary.  It is his unfortunately self-inflicted conceit and bigotry that will accompany him to his proverbial political demise. The less said about this failed politician the better.

Some media have already labelled us a “mob” and “shadowy figures” but that is not really a problem at all. Bare feet usually pick up thorns along the way anyway.  That we are now being labelled is an indication that we are being heard; we are being seen. And that is good for our cause.

l Advocate Thulo Hoeane is the spokesman of the Hands Off Mosito Team

Thulo Hoeeane

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