MoAfrika’s court bid flops

MoAfrika’s court bid flops

MASERU – AN application by MoAfrika radio station to interdict Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Thesele ’Maseribane, from demanding tapes of its controversial radio drama has been dismissed. MoAfrika had also asked the High Court to stop the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) from ordering it to hand over the tapes to the complainants.

The High Court last Friday said the matter was moot because the tapes that ’Maseribane and two other senior party members demanded had already been transmitted to them by the LCA.

MoAfrika however is not satisfied with the decision arguing they should have been served with those copies as evidence.
The radio station also says there was supposed to be evidence that the court was served instead of just an announcement from the bench.
Moafrika FM editor-in-chief Ratabane Ramainoane told thepost yesterday that they are appealing against the ruling.
“We have talked and agreed with our lawyer that we are appealing,” Ramainoane said.

“The LCA’s mandate is to issue licences, supervise and monitor the licensees and where we refuse to be supervised they can revoke the licence,” he said.
Ramainoane said the LCA has been unfair to Moafrika when it released the tapes without the consent of the radio station, “especially because doing that is outside its mandate”.

“Its role is to instruct me to give out the needed tapes and not to issue the tapes without my consent,” he said.
“They have also done that without any court order.”

He said he heard for the first time in court when the LCA’s lawyer, Advocate Monaheng Rasekoai, told the court that their application was moot because the tapes had already been transmitted to the complainants.  Moafrika’s contentious radio drama is about atrocities the radio station alleges were committed during the reign of former BNP leader, Chief Leabua Jonathan, during the 1970s.

Jonathan lost the 1970 general election and declared a state of emergency. He also launched a major crackdown against the main opposition party, the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP).

The BNP rejects charges of human rights abuses, arguing they were fighting terrorism. ’Maseribane wanted the radio station to hand over the entire script of the drama for scrutiny and to take any legal action as a response. Their lawyer Advocate Bereng Makotoko wrote a letter of demand to Moafrika, saying his clients wanted to understand fully what the drama was saying about their party.

The most irking part in the drama series, at least where it has already been broadcast, is where it is about the alleged Lipeketheng massacre.
Moafrika says in 1974 the BNP government unleashed the police on BCP activists in Lipeketheng, Leribe, and buried them alive in a mass grave.
The BNP has always refuted the allegation as false, saying several men were killed during a fight between them and nobody was buried alive.
The BNP says the relatives of the dead men were invited to identify the deceased and those who were not identified were later buried.

The party’s stance has been that there were men who were rioting in objection to the government’s decision in matters involving diamond mining and when they were stopped they fought the police.

Staff Reporter

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