Mahao group blocked

Mahao group blocked

MASERU – ACTING Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase yesterday temporarily interdicted the newly elected national executive committee of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) from taking office.
The parties are expected to file their papers by Friday this week.

The ABC national executive committee will be in limbo until an urgent application filed on Monday by two contestants and one senior ABC member to challenge its election victory is finalised by the court.
The two contestants that are unsatisfied with the election results are Mining Minister Keketso Sello and Trade Minister Habofanoe Lehana while the other applicant is Moapa Mohapinyane, the MP for Rothe.

The respondents are the ABC, the outgoing NEC, the Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (LCN) and all 41 other individuals who participated in the election.
In their application they ask the court to also interdict the outgoing elected national executive committee from handing over the ABC properties.
They also ask the High Court to interdict the ABC new committee from taking over the administration of the party pending finalisation of the case.

They want the court to order the ABC to hold a fresh election within three months of finalisation of the matter.
The applicants want the respondents to show why the NEC election results announced by the Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (LCN) shall not be declared null and void.
Asking the High Court to treat the matter as urgent, they argue that “there is a high likelihood of chaos and/or bloodshed ensuing at the headquarters of ABC with the NEC and the purported recently elected members trying or vying to take and or remain in control of the said offices of ABC”.

“There is a high likelihood that the factions will fight each other,” Lehana says in court papers.
The applicants said there are patent errors committed during the ABC elective conference that have rendered the election result suspect.
They said the total number of votes received for any given portfolio is higher than the total number of delegates registered to vote.
“In the interest of Justice and ABC, applicants want the irregularities that they have mentioned to be considered before a new NEC can assume power,” they said in court papers.

Currently the NEC elected members have not assumed office and the applicants said if they do, “it will be to our prejudice as we are challenging the election results”.
The applicants complain that during the election, some individuals and groups of persons raised objections about the election process but their objections were never addressed.

They say some councillors were allowed to vote twice, first in a group as councilors and then with their respective constituencies.
They also allege that the councillors did not have their identity documents as proof that they were indeed the councillors.
“This left a possibility that some people voted as the councillors while they were not,” the applicants argue.
They say the NEC sub-committee immediately attended to the issue and requested the LCN to stop the process of election until the alleged irregularities have been attended.

But the organisation ignored the directive and just proceeded with the election process.
According to the applicants, the NEC was notified of the objections and decided to refer them to the party’s complaints and disputes resolution committee in terms of the party’s constitution.
They say the LCN was informed by the NEC to suspend the election process including the counting of votes and announcement of results pending resolution of the issue by the party’s and dispute resolution committee.

In the letter written by outgoing secretary general of ABC, Samonyane Ntsekele said the NEC had received a letter from Mohapi Mohapinyane stating a number of irregularities happened in the election process and asking the LCN to stop the election process.

“The Lesotho Council of Non-governmental Organisations ignored that directive from its employer and continued with the counting of votes and announced the results.”
“That itself rendered the elections null and void,” the applicants say.
Studying the entire results, applicants said the most upsetting discovery was that the total number of registered delegates who attended the conference as announced by the credentials committee and verified by the LCN was 1 537.
The total number of votes for any portfolio far exceeds the number of delegates, they argued.

“I must mention also that at the start of the conference, it was announced by the NEC that no further delegates would be accepted,” Lehana said.
They claim the total number of votes counted for the position of deputy leader is 1 607, giving a variance of 70 votes.
Applicants are saying there is a variance between the registered number of delegates and total number of votes received.

“This leads to a total variance of 627. This total variance is a result of either individuals voting more than once or individuals not registered to vote being allowed to vote or both,” the applicants added.
“Under the circumstances, I aver that the elections were not free and fair,” he further explains.

They argue that the outgoing NEC is now bound to urgently reconvene the conference for the purpose of declaring the result and welcoming the new NEC.

In the annexures submitted before the High Court, the applicants said candidate Prof Mahao is a TRC board member which is an LCN affiliate.
They say the elections’ chairman and candidate Prof Mahao are personal friends.
They said there were misplaced ballot papers.

Senate Sekotlo

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