ABC’s attorneys withdraw  from case

ABC’s attorneys withdraw from case

MASERU – ATTORNEYS who are representing the All Basotho Convention (ABC) in a case in which the Koro-Koro constituency is seeking to overturn a High Court judgment have withdrawn from the case. The Court of Appeal, which was set to hear the appeal on Tuesday, had to postpone the case to today because of the withdrawal.
Mosotho Attorneys wrote to the Court of Appeal registrar telling him that they withdrew from the case because he enrolled the Koro-Koro’s appeal in a manner showing he had “an interest in the matter that goes beyond the call of duty”.

The embattled Koro-Koro constituency approached the Court of Appeal on January 19 after the Acting Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase dismissed their application in which they challenged the party’s national executive committee to suspend the constituency’s committee.
The Koro-Koro committee was suspended after it defiantly pushed for the candidacy of Professor Nqosa Mahao for the party’s deputy presidency despite the executive committee’s decision to block him.

The ABC will hold an elective conference on February 1 and 2.
“I regret to inform you that my clients have formed a prima facie opinion that your handling of the matter leaves an impression that you may have an interest in the matter that goes beyond the call of duty,” the letter reads in part.

“You will certainly appreciate that the dispute herein has created a politically charged environment in the past days and in the interests of proper administration of justice, it is important that we all appear to be sensitive to such issues and handle the matter with utmost transparency expected of us as officers of court,” the attorneys say.
Mosotho Attorneys complain that the Koro-Koro’s attorneys, KJ Nthontho Attorneys, requested to have the appeal enrolled during the current session knowing well that the Acting Chief Justice Mahase will deliver a written judgment sometime in February.

Mosotho Attorneys say while they were still considering their position regarding the request, “and in just a matter of hours, we then received your response to their request”.
The ABC attorneys say they expected the registrar, Mosito Rabotsoa, to invite them to make representations regarding the request but he did not do so.
“We note from your letter that you already formed a view that the matter was urgent,” the letter reads.
They say had Rabotsoa solicited their representations “it would be known that we strongly object to the request” to enroll the appeal.
They argue that they already had cases to attend to on the dates set for this case, including Rethabile Mosisili v Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Water and Dr Motlalefa Moteane v Ministry of Small Businesses.

“As things stand, we are presently busy preparing for the aforementioned appeals following directives by the Court during the roll call,” the letter reads.
“You will know that this session was called on a very short notice to the litigants hence we are still busy with other processes.”
Mosotho Attorneys say the date selected for the ABC v Koro-Koro case clashed with their Mosisili v Principal Secretary of Water Affairs.
“In the circumstances, the dates given cannot be practically be suitable to us.”
Their other argument was the Koro-Koro constituency could have asked for the suspension of the elective conference and move application for stay of Acting Chief Justice Mahase’s judgment pending their appeal.

They say Acting Chief Justice Mahase “repeatedly made it known to the parties that she would not be in a position to immediately deliver a written judgment as she is also sitting in the Court of Appeal”.

Acting Chief Justice Mahase is said to have also told the parties that her written judgment would only be available probably in mid-February.
They argue that hearing the appeal without the written judgment “not only effectively undermines the learned ACJ (Mahase) but is also prejudicial to” the ABC national executive committee.
These reasons were not argued in court.

After withdrawing from the case, ABC’s secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele stood and addressed the court.
Ntsekele pleaded with the court to give the party a week to look for another legal representation following.
“I don’t really know the legal technicalities and don’t want to violate anything hence I came today to plead with the Honourable Court to at least give the party a week to find new legal representation,” Ntsekele pleaded. The court through Justice Phillip Musonda refused, saying that the case is an urgent matter hence gave him until Thursday to finalise everything. The case will be heard tomorrow.

Senate Sekotlo

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