Mahao wants Thabane jailed

Mahao wants Thabane jailed

MASERU – THE Mahao faction of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) wants Prime Minister Thomas Thabane jailed for violating a court order.
This comes two days after Thabane expelled five members of the new committee, including deputy leader Professor Nqosa Mahao.
Also expelled are secretary general Lebohang Hlaele, chairman Samuel Rapapa, deputy spokesperson ’Matebatso Doti and the spokesman Montoeli Masoetsa.

Thabane accused the five of disrespecting him by holding rallies without his permission.
Last night the five members filed an urgent High Court application accusing Thabane of disobeying a court order that said their committee was lawfully elected and should be in office.
The members said Thabane and former ABC secretary general, Samonyane Ntsekele, should purge their contempt or be “be committed to jail for a period determinable by the honourable court”.
The new case is a sign of the escalating factional fights in the ruling party.

In an affidavit Hlaele, who is Thabane’s son-in-law, said what Thabane did “is nothing but a clear violation of the court’s orders and has the effect of undermining the judiciary and the rule of law”.
“As such, this conduct should be dealt with great caution considering the status of (Thabane),” he said.
“It is our humble submission that a higher standard of compliance with orders of court is expected from the two august offices of (Thabane), as the Prime Minister and a leader of a party leading the coalition government.”
He said the High Court’s ruling last week “installed the democratically elected members (of the committee) into office so they can carry their duties as outlined in the constitution of the ABC”.

Hlaele said despite the judgment Thabane and Ntsekele barred them from the party offices.
“The resistance was a glaring contempt on the part of (Ntsekele) in concert with (Thabane),” Hlaele said.
He said their expulsion is premeditated because Thabane has always been adamant that he will not work with the new committee, particularly Professor Mahao whom he said is not an ABC member.
He said Thabane continued to display this attitude even after last week’s ruling.
“In stark contempt of the order of court, he misused, abused and misinterpreted powers he assumed he had under the constitution to terminate the membership of members of the National Executive Committee,” Hlaele said.
“His acts were a clandestine way of going against a clear order of the court which installed the elected committee into office.”

“He manipulated the constitution to hide behind his contempt whereas his intentions not to work with the new NEC were formulated from the day the new committee won elections.”
Hlaele said Thabane made this clear in a meeting with the Principal Chief of Thaba-Bosiu, Khoabane Theko, who was trying to mediate in the dispute.
“He (Thabane) became frank and informed the chief that he (would) not work with the elected committee though the heavens fall down (sic).”

Chief Theko confirmed this in a supporting affidavit. He said Thabane told him that he had no intention to work with the new committee, especially Professor Mahao and Hlaele.
“He said even if the courts of law would decide or make a ruling that he works with them, he will not adhere to that order but will do anything in his power rightly or wrongly not to work with them,” Chief Theko said.
“Even if it means firing them from the party.”
On Monday Thabane told a press conference that the party’s constitution gives him the power to deal with rogue members.
He said he ordered the new committee to stop holding rallies but they disobeyed him.

Staff Reporter

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