Mosito to fight back

Mosito to fight back

MASERU – COURT of Appeal President Justice Kananelo Mosito will tell Prime Minister Thomas Thabane that he has no qualms relinquishing his job at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) subject to several conditions being met.
Last Wednesday Thabane wrote to Justice Mosito, instructing him to resign as an academic in the Law Faculty at the NUL if he wanted to remain head of the apex court.
Thabane said when he appointed Justice Mosito to lead the Court of Appeal he was under the impression that he would leave the academia to focus on his new role.

The Prime Minister said it was not ideal for Justice Mosito to keep his NUL job because it might compromise his judicial role.
“There is reasonable likelihood that your continued employment with the National University of Lesotho, whilst you remain the President of the Court of Appeal, might compromise your independence, impartiality, integrity and competency as a Judicial Officer,” Thabane said in the letter dated June 12.
He said he did not need to remind Justice Mosito that he should devote his time to his role at the apex court.
“In the circumstances, I hereby invite you to regularise your position and forthwith terminate your employment relationship with the National University of Lesotho.”

Thabane gave the judge seven days to submit confirmation that he had resigned from the university.
thepost can now reveal that Justice Mosito will throw the ball back into Thabane’s court by asking him to meet certain conditions before he leaves the university.
Sources have told thepost that Justice Mosito’s letter to Thabane will stand on three pillars.
The first is that his role as an associate professor at the NUL is not at variance with his duties as a judicial officer. He is likely to say that there is nothing in the constitution barring him from being both an academic and a judge.
The second is that a president of the Court of Appeal does not get a salary from the government. Justice Mosito and other Court of Appeal judges are paid allowances based on the number of cases they hear.

This means that Justice Mosito only receives two pay cheques per year, the first around April and the second around October.
The source said Justice Mosito will argue that given the circumstances he cannot relinquish his permanent and pensionable job at the NUL unless the law is changed to include him on the government’s payroll and transfer his pension to the pension fund that covers civil servants.
Justice Mosito has been at the NUL since October 1993. His benefits at the university include medical aid, housing allowance and a generous pension.

All these are not in his contract as president. In fact the position of the president of the Court of Appeal does not appear in the civil service structure. Strictly speaking, he is not an employee of the government.
The third argument Justice Mosito is likely to raise is that his job at the university has never affected his role as president because the schedules are different.
The NUL job is full-time while the role at the Court of Appeal is ad hoc.

Justice Mosito was not asked to resign from the NUL when he was a judge on several divisions of the High Court from 2006 to 2015. He is likely to tell Thabane that at no point did his NUL job interfere with his judicial duties.
Justice Mosito’s fourth argument is likely to be that there are several judges in other countries who also teach at universities. He will possibly tell the prime minister that judges are in fact encouraged to participate in academic endeavours, as a way to impart their knowledge and improve themselves.
Thabane’s letter is curious, coming at a time when the judiciary is in turmoil.

It is arguable that Thabane’s letter could be an attempt at getting back at Justice Mosito for ruling against the All Basotho Convention when it tried to block Professor Nqosa Mahao from contesting for the deputy leader’s position at the party’s conference in February.
A few weeks ago the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial in a case in which Acting Chief Justice Maseforo Mahase had declared that the conference that elected Professor Mahao and his team was in violation of the ABC’s constitution.

Staff Reporter



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