Mosisili’s  fate in judges’ hands

Mosisili’s fate in judges’ hands

Leisa Leisanyane

MASERU – THE fate of the coalition government led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili now lies in the hands of three judges who will hear the case today.
The judges will be Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara, Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi and Justice Molefi Makara.

A faction of the ruling Democratic Congress (DC) party led by Monyane Moleleki suspended Mosisili as party leader early last month.
But Mosisili is fighting back.
He wants the court to reverse the party’s national executive committee’s decision to suspend him. As the war of attrition continued in the DC, Mosisili went on to suspend the DC national executive committee for ganging up against him Mosisili now wants the High Court to declare that he operated within the confines of the law when he called the special conference that will confirm or reject their suspension.

The conference is scheduled for tomorrow and will end on Sunday.
But the Moleleki faction has also applied to the court to block Mosisili from proceeding with the conference.

The committee says Mosisili does not have constitutional powers to call the conference. It says only the party’s secretary general, Ralechate ’Mokose, has the power to do so.
’Mokose is fighting in Moleleki’s corner.

What appears to have peeved off Mosisili most was the national executive committee’s announcement that the DC was withdrawing from the coalition government.
The Moleleki faction last week announced it had signed an agreement with the opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) to form a new government.

Under the agreement, Moleleki will serve as Prime Minister for the first 18 months while the ABC leader Thomas Thabane will be premier for the remaining 18 months.
The resignation of the DC stalwarts has left Mosisili with just 42 out of the 120 seats in Parliament.
To deal with the crisis, Mosisili wants the court to bar members of Moleleki’s faction from communicating and issuing statements in the name of the DC.

He also wants the court to order the national executive committee to return the property of the party namely the official letterhead, the stamp, and any other property used in the party.
He also wants members of Moleleki’s faction to be restrained from using such party property pending resolution of their suspension.

In his founding affidavit, Mosisili says on September 18, there was a public procession held in Maseru which was meant to show that the public still had confidence in him as the prime minister and to the coalition government which he leads.
“The respondents did not attend the said public procession despite the fact that Moleleki and Ralechate ’Mokose were ministers of government,” he says.
He says he later on learned that Moleleki had not attended because he had called a rally in his constituency of Machache.

Mosisili says on November 10 Moleleki and some members of the executive committee held a press conference where “they indicated that the executive committee of the Democratic Congress had resolved to withdraw from the coalition government, wherein they not only appealed to the ministers from DC to resign from cabinet but also invited other parties in parliament to form a new government amongst others.”

“I was shocked and amazed upon hearing of the said announcement because at the time they made such an announcement there had not been a meeting of the executive committee of DC which discussed and resolved that the party should withdraw from the coalition government agreement.”

Mosisili says in calling for the executive committee meeting, the party’s constitution requires the secretary general to discuss the proposed agenda with the leader and should also seek guidance from him.

“The secretary general would then issue invitations to the respective members of the executive committee indicating the date, time and the agenda for discussion,” he says.
“I am always the chairman unless I have indicated that I would not be present and I do not attend after such notification. In that event and only in such an event will the deputy leader assume the chairmanship of the meeting of the executive committee,” he says.
Mosisili says no meeting was ever called to discuss the issue of withdrawing from the government adding “the secretary general never discussed the issue of withdrawal with me”.
He says there had never been a time when letters of invitation were issued out either to him or other members of the executive, particularly his co-applicants (treasurer ’Mamphono Khaketla, member ’Maphakiso Moseme and spokesman Serilaong Qoo) who are members of the executive committee.

“I had never been absent during the time when a decision was made at any meeting; consequently, I verily aver that no such meeting was held, and in the event that it was held, which is still denied, it was improperly held and in violation of the provisions of the constitution of the DC and to that extent the decisions arrived thereat are null and void and of no force and effect,” Mosisili says.

Mosisili says the executive committee statements in the media were aimed at destroying peaceful relations that DC has with its partners in the coalition government.
But the Moleleki faction in the Democratic Congress (DC) party is not taking the fight lying down.

In its court papers, the faction wants Mosisili to be interdicted and restrained from holding himself out as a member and leader of DC pending finalisation of this application.
The faction also wants Qoo to be interdicted and restrained “from holding himself out as a member of the DC” and particularly as the spokesperson of the party pending finalisation of the matter.

Moleleki’s faction also wants the letters written by Mosisili to 10 members suspending them from the executive committee to be declared “null and void”.

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