End of the road for Khasu

End of the road for Khasu

Leisa Leisanyane

MASERU – THE All Basotho Convention (ABC) party deputy leader Tlali Khasu has lost his appeal in the Court of Appeal to stop his suspension from the national executive committee for 90 days.

Khasu was suspended on September 18.

He however challenged the suspension in the High Court but lost the case. He then took the matter to the Court of Appeal for redress.

Khasu’s main argument in the appeal was that he was subjected to a procedurally unfair process which thwarted the principles of natural justice leading to his suspension.

But on Friday last week, the Court of Appeal threw out Khasu’s application after hearing his reasons. He had told the court that party leader, Thomas Thabane, had suspended him without a hearing.

The court found that it was in fact not Thabane who suspended him unilaterally but the national executive committee which approved the leader’s proposal.

The Court of Appeal confirmed High Court judge Tšeliso Monaphathi’s judgment that that Khasu was afforded an opportunity to be heard before he was suspended on September 18.

Justice Monaphathi had said Thabane and the national executive committee gave Khasu enough time to present his side, a claim Khasu had challenged as untrue.

Khasu was suspended on September 18 for allegedly castigating his leader during a phone-in programme on the Teya-teyaneng-based Molisa ea Molemo FM in mid-September.

He argued that the suspension was unlawful and that it did not follow the ABC’s constitution and also defied the principles of natural justice in that he was not afforded a chance to be heard.

Khasu was suspended for allegedly talking ill of Thabane on air when he responded to some statements by the ABC secretary-general Samonyane Ntsekele.

The statements were based on what Ntsekele said was a circular from Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili in which he said Thabane and the ABC were being unfair to Khasu by not giving him the position of leader of the opposition in Parliament.

Thabane, who fled the country in May last year, still holds the position of leader of the opposition although he has not been able to attend and perform his duties in Parliament.

The party complained that Khasu called the station during the programme and publicly challenged Ntsekele.

He also agreed with Mosisili’s circular that he was being treated unfairly by his leader and the party.

Khasu has however denied that, saying he called to correct Ntsekele for saying Thabane was entitled to both the payments of being a former premier and leader of opposition at the same time.

He said he compared the situation with the one Mosisili was in when his Democratic Congress party lost elections and he was faced with choosing between being paid as a former premier and leader of opposition.

Khasu said he reminded the listeners that Mosisili chose the payment of the former Prime Minister and left the benefits of the leader of opposition to his deputy, MonyaneMoleleki, who was appointed to the position.

Delivering the appeal judgment on Friday, a coram of Justices Willem Louw, Cleaver and Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara ruled that the national executive committee debated the question of his suspension and then called him into the house, gave him the suspension letter and enquired what his response to it was.

When he was asked to comment, he only said: “The members of the Democratic Congress are at loggerheads. The majority of Basotho knows that we have this meeting we are more solid than ever and we can manage our affairs and we are ready to take government from those people who are fighting each other.”

He then continued to read the letter and asked whether he “could go now that I was not given a hearing prior to the letter being written on 17 September. The leader said I could go and I left”.

The appeal judges found that Khasu, instead of telling the national executive committee why he should not be suspended “he made a political statement and then said that he accepted his suspension”.

They also found that “the committee had not taken any decision to confirm the suspension before (Khasu) was called in and upon being given the letter to read, being asked to respond thereto”.

“His decision not to take the opportunity to present his case to the committee and his statement to the committee that he accepted his suspension, is in my view dispositive of the matter,” Justice Louw said.

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