Fight over MEC name, symbols

Fight over MEC name, symbols

MASERU – A SHADOWY political outfit wants the Director of Elections Letholetseng Ntsike to revoke the registration of the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) party.
The Majalefa Development Movement (MDM) has filed an urgent application in the High Court seeking to bar the MEC from using its name, symbol and slogan.
The MDM claims the MEC led by former small business development minister Selibe Mochoboroane had appropriated its symbols.

The group says the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) ignored its calls before the MEC was registered.
Ntsike registered the MEC as a political party with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on March 9.

Mochoboroane was initially tipped to lead Majalefa before he defected from the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).
Mochoboroane and Majalefa members clashed and parted ways before his leadership of the movement could be confirmed.

Majalefa’s lawyer, Advocate Taeke Thejane, in the certificate of urgency, told the court that Ntsike “made an abrupt and irregular decision to register (the MEC) under dubious circumstances in that there was already an objection as regards the symbol and slogan”.
The MEC symbol is a watch while the slogan is Ke nako (now is the time).

Majalefa wants the court to order Ntsike to dispatch to the Registrar of the High Court within 14 days the application the MEC filed, supporting documents, reasons for registering it as a party and certified minutes of all meetings Ntsike and the MEC held before registering it.
Majalefa also asks the court to order Ntsike to return the certificate registering MEC as a party and the decision to register it using the symbol and slogan reviewed, corrected and set aside.
Majalefa’s secretary general, Manama Letsie, told the court in an affidavit that they submitted their application to the IEC to be registered as a political party on January 26.
He however said the movement was founded in August last year “as a youth-led movement advocating for economic change in Lesotho”.
He says the watch symbol and ke nako ea rona have been Majalefa’s hallmarks from its inception.

Letsie referred the court to an article they published on their Facebook wall on October 15 last year.
“I wish to take this honourable court into my confidence and say that at that moment the (MEC) was not yet constituted,” Letsie says.

“I know this for a fact because its leader, Honourable Selibe Mochoboroane, was still a minister in the government of Lesotho under the banner of LCD,” he said.
Letsie says they wanted Mochoboroane to be their leader and they agreed to change their movement’s name to Movement for Economic Change after realising that Mochoboroane’s group did not like the name Majalefa.

However, when they broke apart because of disagreements on core principles, Mochoboroane left with both the new name, the symbol and slogan.
Majalefa held a press conference on January 10, before Mochoboroane could register his party at the Law Office, where they objected to his use of the watch and the ke nako slogan.
Letsie attached a Facebook message that was sent to Mochoboroane’s then private secretary Leboea Khoaele showing the name Movement for Economic Change.

Mochoboroane, who was at the time about to defect from LCD to form his own party, was using a cow as his slogan.
Letsie said they were shocked and surprised when on February 1 the MEC unveiled the watch and ke nako slogan during its launch and Mochoboroane was heard on radio using the symbol and the slogan.

At the time, Letsie said, Majalefa had already filed their application with the IEC using both the watch symbol and ke nako slogan.
He says he is appalled that their application, which they filed even before MEC was launched, “has not been approved to date and no reasons have been attached for the delay . . . despite all requirements having been met”.

Staff Reporter

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