Judges say Thabane has no power to fire members

Judges say Thabane has no power to fire members

MASERU – THE High Court yesterday said Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has no right to fire members of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) as the party’s Constitution does not give him that power.
Justices Sakoane Sakoane and Moroke Mokhesi said the newly elected ABC National Executive Committee (NEC) which was elected in February is the only legitimate committee that can expel members.
The judges made these comments yesterday in a case in which the Mahao-led committee is asking the court to intervene in resolving the problems rocking the party. It wants the court to interdict Thabane from continuing to destabilize the party.

Justice Sakoane said the committee has a right to reject letters that have been written by Thabane expelling members of the new NEC.
He said according to the ABC Constitution, the party leader can only suspend a member and not expel him.
“I think all you have to do is to sit or call the leader to a disciplinary hearing and tell him or correct him of the mistakes he is still committing,” he said.
Justice Sakoane said if the leader acted criminally by allowing or ordering the police and soldiers to surround the offices armed, the committee has to lay criminal charges against him.
He told the committee that the Commissioner of Police must act and arrest people who acted criminally.

Advocate ‘Mabatso’eneng Hlaele, who appeared on behalf of the applicants, argued that the actions taken by a faction led by Thabane will only lead to a separation within the party.
Advocate Hlaele, who is Thabane’s daughter, said the party leader had failed to abide by the court order after he expelled the members a few days after the courts ruled they were the legitimate committee.
She said she feared Thabane’s actions could result in violence hence she approached the court to assist by issuing a court order against the party leader.
Adv Hlaele asked the court to intervene in the dispute between the new committee and Thabane.
She said Thabane’s decision to fire the new NEC and close the party’s offices in Maseru had caused confusion among party supporters.

Adv Hlaele said she wanted the court to intervene and censure Thabane for misusing his power.
“Some National Security Service (NSS) agents, police and some soldiers were seen holding guns at the ABC offices,” she said.
She said the results of all these acts will be bloodshed and fights if the court does not intervene to stop Thabane.
Adv Hlaele said they want the court to bring Thabane to order and he should be interdicted by the court before more damage takes place.

She told the court that the leader does not have a right to fire the new NEC and he only has a right to suspend them.
She argued that the new NEC was in the office by law but Thabane has fired them.
Hlaele said Thabane’s decision to fire the NEC members should be declared null and void because he did not have any power to expel any member of the ABC without ratification by the committee.
The case was postponed to June 22 where lawyers are expected to argue about the urgency of the case.

Thooe Ramolibeli and Itumeleng Khoete

 

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