‘Evoke constitutional powers and swear in Mosito’

‘Evoke constitutional powers and swear in Mosito’

……This is a petition that was submitted to the Honourable Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Correctional Services last week.

Dear Honourable Minister

We are patriotic Basotho men and women (collectively called Hands off Mosito Team) who are increasingly irked by the deliberate delayed swearing in of Judge Kananelo Mosito as President of Court of Appeal after his appointment by the Right Hon. Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane by a government gazette in terms of Section (98) sub section (1) of the constitution.
The duty to swear Mosito in rests squarely on the shoulders of the Chief Justice of the High Court of Lesotho or whoever is acting in that position in her absence.

It’s now almost over almost two months since charges against Prof. Mosito were dropped by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution and the tribunal’s findings set aside by the courts. Despite these legal hurdles being out of the way, Judge Mosito has still not been sworn in.
Government has not told the nation why Judge Mosito has not been sworn in but the information we have gathered is that the four (4) lawyers who have been relentlessly pursuing him since 2015 him to make sure that he does not assume his position as President, have lodged a constitutional case challenging his appointment. We have also learned that final preparations for the swearing in were put in place.

This latest constitutional challenge comes less than a month after Judge Mosito has had all charges against him dropped by the DPP’s office. The question is who is working with these four lawyers to stand in the way of Judge Mosito to prevent him from assuming his position as President and what could their motives be?
Another question is, since this latest application (as we have learned) does not ask for stay of execution what is it that is preventing the Chief Justice from swearing in Judge Mosito?

We have an answer to this question and that is why we are gathered here today to petition the Right Honourable Prime Minister to evoke his constitutional powers Section (98) sub section (1)) to make sure that Prof Mosito is sworn in within the shortest number of days of presenting this petition. The answer is the Chief Justice is working hand in hand with these four lawyers together with other judges of the high court to do everything in their power to prevent Prof Mosito from being sworn in.

If you may ask yourself this question: Why did the Chief Justice engage these four lawyers as her legal representatives knowing full well that they were actively working against Mosito’s appointment? Was it merely a coincidence that she simply stumbled upon them when she was searching for lawyers to represent her? In any event why did she need private lawyers to represent her when there is the office of the attorney general to offer her legal representation if she needed any?

The answer to this question is also very simple. This is a team that is working together with key individuals and other judges here at the High Court to capture the entire judiciary and use it as a tool to fight their own personal battles. That is why this whole edifice has to be broken and this must start with the swearing in of Prof. Mosito as president of the Court of Appeal with immediate effect.

Prof Mosito is the last line of defence in the war to prevent the judiciary from falling in the hands of this mafia clique. That is why this call Mr Minister is so urgent. The time is now. We cannot wait until tomorrow to free our judiciary from these politicians hiding behind lofty titles and robes but underneath working against the interests of this nation.

Basotho want Judge Kananelo Mosito as president of Court of Appeal and they shall have him. Come rain or sunshine, he shall be sworn in as president of Court of Appeal whether certain people like it or not.  Already this year the sitting of the Court of Appeal failed as a result of the frustration caused by these four lawyers working in concert with the Chief Justice. Has she ever apologised to the many families whose loved ones are languishing in jail and whose only hope is to have their cases heard by the Court of Appeal? None. If this clique is not smashed to pieces there will never be another sitting of the Court until they have their own man in that position.

This must never be allowed to happen. It will be the end of our judicial independence if this mafia clique is allowed to prevent Judge Mosito from being sworn in we will have failed ourselves and future generations if we allow these people to hold our government to ransom.
We will fight till our last breath to make sure that Judge Mosito is sworn in as President regardless of the consequences.

These four lawyers have not made it a secret their hatred for Judge Mosito. It is the same lawyers who nearly succeeded in destroying his judicial career by pursuing politically-motivated tax charges against him in 2015. Once again they were not working alone as usual. In their corner, they had their trusted friends in the form of former DPP Leaba Thetsane, Attorney General Tšokolo Makhethe, law firm Webber-Newdigate and need we mention the Chief Justice.

It came as no surprise then that Prof Mosito lost all legal challenges against him until the tribunal was set up to impeach him. It even came as no further surprise then observing the disgraceful and shameful conduct displayed by the mercenaries who were hired by the Attorney General to impeach Prof Mosito. Only a few people could have managed to go through the trauma and anguish that Prof Mosito was put through without breaking down. He did not. He is still here and standing strong in the face of new challenges against him by his determined enemies.
This fruitless exercise cost the taxpayer in this country almost 14 million Maloti while at the same enriching a foreign owned law firm Webber-Newdigate.

Honourable Ministers, we would like to channel our energies into building a prosperous and peaceful nation yet we find ourselves locked in battle with members of the legal profession and our judiciary.
These are sections of the society that should be on the forefront of spearheading justice especially justice for one of their own. These four lawyers working in tandem with some judges, including the Chief Justice, appear to be hell bent to do everything in their power to block the swearing in of one of their own.

If members of the legal profession and the judiciary cannot protect one of their own from harm what more about many of us who are not in these professions? Can we even hope to get any justice from these sections?
But we like to give a clear and open warning to all those who are standing in the way of Mosito’s swearing in that their time is up. Prof. Mosito is going to be sworn in whether they like it or not. No one is going to capture our judiciary. We cannot be held to ransom by these four lawyers and their friends in the judiciary. They must know that their game is over. We are bringing it to an end today. We will leave no stone unturned to crush them if they continue to stand in the way of our judicial independence.

It is for this reason Honourable Ministers, we feel compelled to petition you to urge the Prime Minister to use his constitutional power to order the Chief Justice or whoever is acting in that position in her absence to swear in Justice Mosito as the constitutionally appointed president of the Appeal Court or be impeached if they defy your orders. You are the Prime Minister of this government and we urge you to use your constitutional powers to cleanse our judiciary of bad elements before they cause more harm than already caused. We are right behind you.

Our demands Right Honourable Prime Minister are as follows:

l order the Chief Justice or whoever is acting in that position to swear in Judge Mosito not more than seven days from the receipt of this petition failing which suspend her from her position if she defies your order as head of government

l suspend the Chief Justice, Judge Moiloa and Acting Registrar of the High Court Lesitsi Mokeke from their positions and institute impeachment proceedings against the Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara and Judge Teboho Moiloa as result of their involvement in the controversial residential lease agreement where the government is paying M27 000 a month rental accommodation for the CJ in a house owned by Judge Moiloa and his wife. This is despite the Internal Audit Report indicating that the officially set allowance for CJ accommodation is capped at M4 000 a month.

l Institute criminal charges against advocates Teele KC, Mohau KC, Mda KC, Attorney Qhalehang Letsika, former DPP, former AG, Webber-Newdigate Law firm for wasting taxpayers’ money when they acted in conceit to advise the former PM to advise His Majesty to set up a politically-motivated tribunal to impeach Prof Mosito in 2015. That exercise cost this nation more than 14 million Maloti.

l Hold all these people and entities mentioned above individually and collectively responsible for repayment of the whole M14 million used in the setting up of the kangaroo court disguised as a tribunal

l Suspend all judges and other judicial officers who are actively involved in opposition politics but masquerading as men and women of honour under judicial robes. These judges and magistrates in various ranks across the country are a disgrace to the judiciary. They must be weeded out with immediate effect.

l We urge you, Right Honourable Prime Minister, to include in the multi-sectoral reforms, as directed by SADC Decisions and SOMILES Report, an overhaul of the upper bench, High Court, so that all judges must re-apply for their positions. Their tenure in office should be for six years and performance based. Their retirement age be reduced to sixty five (65) non-renewable except if there are compelling circumstances to extend the contract.
Your Excellency, we urge you to take a leaf out of the recent Kenyan template in this regard. All these observations and suggestions, Your Excellency, barring the Internal Audit Report are motivated by our humble opinion that our judiciary is politically compromised.
In conclusion, Your Excellency, we wish to reiterate that we are not piqued by any political motives but purely by the need to promote a prosperous nation grounded on an impartial judiciary that reflects ethos of incorruptibility, fairness, rule of law and independence.

We thank you.

Thulo Hoeeane

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