Mahao faction lays on to judge

Mahao faction lays on to judge

MAPUTSOE – A FACTION of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) led by Professor Nqosa Mahao says it has serious doubts over claims by Acting Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase that she was sick last Thursday.
The allegation casts serious doubts on the judge’s integrity.
Justice Mahase was supposed to have delivered judgment on the urgent application last week but failed to do so as she said she was sick. It is a claim that has not been taken seriously by the Mahao group.
The case arose after two members of the outgoing ABC national executive committee, Mining Minister Keketso Sello and Trade Minister Habofanoe Lehana, challenged the election results.

Sello and Lehana, who were both booted out of the ABC’s national executive committee, told Justice Mahase in their court papers that there would be bloodshed if the case was delayed.
The Mahao faction has dismissed their claims but the matter, which was supposed to be heard on an urgent basis, is still to be heard two months after the disputed elections. At first, it was the applicants’ lawyer, Advocate Ranale Thoahlane, who claimed he was sick. Last week, Justice Mahase failed to deliver judgment on the matter claiming she was not well.

It was the last claim by Justice Mahase that has infuriated the Mahao camp.
Addressing a rally in Maputsoe on Sunday, the newly elected deputy leader of the ABC, Professor Nqosa Mahao and secretary general Lebohang Hlaele said they doubted Justice Mahase was sick.
“It is alleged that Madam ’Maseforo has been instructed to be sick so that the case is postponed,” Hlaele said.
“This is how our courts are mismanaged – failing to deliver judgements and pushing the courts backwards.”
Mahao said the case was urgent, that is why the judge said respondents should file their papers within 24 hours, but despite that it took more than a month to hear the matter.

Four weeks after the case was heard, there is still no judgment, he said.
“Now the case is being postponed, lawyers are sick and judges are sick too,” Mahao said.
“It is like people are being instructed to delay cases despite their urgency,” he added
“This is not what it is expected from the courts.”
He said should there be instability in the country because of this delay, “our courts will be blamed for their contribution in the instability of the country”.
He urged politicians to stop interfering in the running of the courts.
“Lawyers, please leave politics and let us work professionally and give justice to those who deserve it,” he said.

Last month, there was drama in the High Court when Justice Mahase postponed the case after the applicants’ lawyer Advocate Thoahlane said he was sick.
Hlaele’s wife, ’Mabatšoeneng Hlaele, who is also the ABC leader Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s daughter, was furious when the case was postponed.
As an attorney, she argued in court that she doubted Advocate Thoahlane’s claims because the lawyer had been seen walking in the corridors of the court earlier.
The court had heard that Thoahlane was involved in a car accident on his way from the state funeral of High Court judge Justice ’Maseshophe Hlajoane.

Meanwhile, the Maputsoe MP, Sotlehang Sekhamane, told the rally that he had been promised a ministerial post if he ditches the Mahao camp.
Sekhamane said he had rejected the offer.
There are two vacancies in the cabinet after Thabane fired Hlaele as Law Minister and ’Matebatso Doti as Social Development Minister for backing the Mahao-led faction.
“They are saying the leader says I am a powerful member therefore I should join them,” Sekhamane said.
“I don’t want their position. Let them go away with their position. Where was it before?” he said.
Efforts to contact the High Court registrar were not successful yesterday.

Nkheli Liphoto


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