BNP annual conference challenged

BNP annual conference challenged

MASERU – THE Basotho National Party (BNP)’s Qacha’s Nek constituency deputy chairman and six others want to block the party’s annual conference slated for July 12 to 14.
In an urgent application in the High Court filed last Friday, Odilon Cekwane, asked that the conference should be declared null and void.

The BNP National Executive Committee (NEC) is the first respondent in the case.
The applicants through their lawyer Advocate Molise Molise argued that a decision of the BNP NEC to announce and call for the holding of the Annual General Conference next Friday be stayed pending finalisation of the matter.

In the court papers, Advocate Molise said the BNP NEC’s decision to hold the elections should be reviewed, corrected and set aside and the NEC be compelled by the strength of the order to announce and call for the holding of an Annual General conference in full compliance with the party’s laws.

Advocate Molise said the NEC should give a 90-day notice to the BNP members prior to the holding of the conference. Cekwane and company also challenge the elections of committee members in Qacha’s Nek, Qhalasi, Mafeteng and Qoaling constituencies.

Committee members from constituencies form part of delegates to the conference.
In his founding affidavit, Cekwane said the NEC did not follow proper procedures for electing constituency committee members hence the upcoming elections should be stayed.

He said to elect constituency committee members, a person applies for membership of BNP according to the party’s constitution. He must then complete a year of membership, then there should be a village committee to which a person qualifies to be elected in terms of the BNP Constitution, the court heard.

Cekwane said soon after that there should be a branch station committee to which the person is elected and when the branch stations have been put together, they form the conference for the constituency committee elections.
Then when the constituency committee elections are to be held, the outgoing committee meets and resolves that the elections be held.

Cekwane said as per their Constitution, the BNP NEC is invited to come to the constituency to oversee the holding of elections of the new constituency committee.

He said when the elections have been held successfully, the outgoing chairperson and the secretary fill in Form A 3 accordingly. He said all these procedures were not followed and on the facts and law the procedures outlined in terms of the party’s Constitution have not been followed.

“The elections of the constituency committees were not done in conformity with the provisions of BNP constitution, therefore the participation of those committees at the Annual National Conference would not be proper,” Cekwane said.

Cekwane said he was elected into constituency committee on three previous occasions in the past as the deputy chairperson. While explaining how the constituency committee elections were conducted in Qacha’s Nek, he said the electoral officer was purportedly Matsoso Tšoaeli.

He argued that under normal circumstances, he would be responsible for preparing and overseeing the process of electing the constituency committee members.

Cekwane said during the elections, one’s name was called out loud as being nominated, the nominator was seconded but there was no voting, no ballot papers and no raising of hands.

He said people at the meeting were from five different constituencies of Hloahloeng, Qhoali, Qacha’s Neck, Tsoelike and Lebakeng. He said members of BNP who were not of Qacha’s Nek constituency were participating and nominating people into the Qacha’s Nek constituency.

The court heard that other people who participated in the nominations and elections were not members of the BNP but joined the party after the nominations and voting. Cekwane further told the court that people who were elected do not even know the number of voters and of those that voted for one and the number of those who declined to vote.

Itumeleng Khoete

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