Battle over IEC posts

Battle over IEC posts

…Urgent application to block new commissioners…

MASERU – A fierce legal battle is looming over the imminent appointment of commissioners to run the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
An investigation by thepost has revealed that an urgent application to block the shortlisting and appointment of the commissioners will be filed in the High Court either today or tomorrow.
The instigators of the application are the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC), an ecumenical group, and one Maieane Khaketla, who has applied to be a commissioner but did not make it to the shortlist.

The main targets of the lawsuit that was being drafted last night are the Council of State, the government, the IEC and all registered political parties.
Also being sued is Workplace Solutions, the recruitment company appointed to help hire the commissioners. The 24 candidates who applied for the positions have also been cited.
The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) is also among the respondents.
Prominent among the candidates is Dr Fako Likoti who was Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s adviser. Dr Likoti was also an IEC commissioner before he was pushed out during Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s first coalition government.

Given his experience at the IEC, Dr Likoti is arguably among the favourites for one of the positions. There is also Justice Michael Ramodibedi, the former president of the Court of Appeal.
Justice Ramodibedi resigned under incessant pressure from Thabane who had already moved to impeach him.
Although thepost has not seen the court papers, impeccable sources said the TRC and Khaketla will seek an order to block the Council of State and IEC from proceeding with the appointments on allegations that the selection process was flawed.

They will argue, sources said, that the process was not transparent and was not open to public participation.
A source close to the issue said they will argue that Workplace Solutions was not properly appointed because there was no tender.
The source said they will also allege that Workplace Solutions did not provide a valid tax clearance certificate so its appointment violated procurement regulations.
He said the TRC and Khaketla will also argue that the appointments cannot proceed until the High Court has finalised the case of three former IEC commissioners who are challenging their removal.

The three want the court to order that they are the rightful commissioners because the Council of State neglected to tell them, within the stipulated time, that their contracts will not be renewed.
They argue that because they were not told that they will be replaced they have legitimate expectation to assume that they will continue as commissioners.
Another source said TRC and Khaketla also want the High Court to instruct the DCEO to investigate how Workplace Solutions was awarded the tender.
There was speculation last night that the initial list of 24 candidates has since been trimmed to five.
The leading candidate, according to an unverified list seen by thepost, is Mphasa Mokhochane, who has scored 85 percent.

Second is Likoti with 77 percent who is followed by Dr Karabo Mokobocho-Mohlakoana with 74 percent. Mokobocho-mohlakoana is the rector of the Lesotho College of Education.
Tšoeu Petlane, a former director of TRC, has 72 percent.
Matlali Mapetla completes the list with 70 percent.
The source said the TRC will argue that if it had been allowed to participate in the selection most of the candidates would not have made it to the initial list of 24.

Last night TRC director, Tsikoane Peshoane, confirmed the lawsuit but was reluctant to give further details.
“I can confirm that the TRC has been denied the opportunity to participate or even observe the process of appointing the commissioners,” Peshoane said
“I can confirm that we want to take up the matter and might seek the court’s intervention.”

Staff Reporter

Previous Thabane bows to pressure
Next Lesotho’s bedroom coup

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