The judge and the special flu

The judge and the special flu

MUCKRAKER is no legal fundi but she can smell a whimpering judge from a distance. Justice ’Maseforo Mahase was whining like a spoilt brat last week.
Instead of delivering judgement in a case that has been on her lap for three months the sister brought a wad of tissues to court.
What triggered her tears was the anger to her dithering on the ABC case.
The protesters merely said: Sister, do your damn job and deliver judgement.

The judge took this wise but forceful counsel as a personal attack on her integrity and ego.
“I cannot let people insult me like this, I am going to seek legal advice and have already notified the Law Society of Lesotho as well as the Attorney General,” she said, as if the insult caused her grievous harm.
“So I will not go on with the judgements because I have been insulted,” she added, as if her alleged insult interfered with her ability to make a ruling.
It was a pitiful excuse to sit on a judgement for another month. Between the sobs the judge reminded the court that she had a nasty bout of flu.

We will come back to that flu issue in a while.
For now let’s unpack her bag of rants about being insulted.
Muckraker suspects the tears were part of a broader and sinister plan to avoid making a ruling.
The insult seems to have been just a convenient scapegoat.
The truth is that she doesn’t seem to have the steel to make a ruling in the ABC case. She is dreaming up tricks to kick this stinking can down the road, hoping that the ABC will find a way to sort out this mess. Sadly, that will not happen.

The pressure will intensify as it becomes clear that she is at sea and can’t swim.
Her lordship is already drowning in the pool of her excuses.
Let’s not mollycoddle this rank tomfoolery. The sister should just leave the grumbling to toddlers. Worse things have been said about other judges but they have delivered judgements.

If the kitchen is too hot she should just vamoose, pronto.
She can simply recuse herself and pass this hot potato to another judge. That way we will know who the chicken judge is on the bench.
But since she keeps pretending to be working on this case she should accept that it’s her baby to kiss and cuddle. Change that baby’s nappy sister. Just change it!

Muckraker finds the sister’s “I have been insulted” excuse inane for several reasons.
First, her alleged insult came more than two months after she started hearing the case.
In those months there had been several delays.
Second, nothing stops her from making a ruling and them pursuing her insult case against the protesters. What started was the ABC case and the insult followed.

Her insult case should be placed in the long queue of other cases pending before her. The issues can be sorted concurrently. None has to wait for the other.
Third, she made another ruling in a related case a few days after her alleged insult.
She cannot therefore claim to be more pained by the alleged insult on Wednesday than she was on Tuesday when she granted an order nullifying the ABC’s special conference.
And that brings Muckraker to the stinking part of this episode. For months Justice Mahase has sat on the main ABC case but it took her less than two days to deliver a judgement in a related case. She did so without hearing the other side.

It would seem that a lawyer walked into her court with the application and came out a few moments later with a final order.
Muckraker will not tackle that judgement with legal arguments because that is not her forte. In any case, lawyers are always dissecting it in other fora.
Simple logic will do just fine in exposing the judgement’s flaws.
The order says the ABC’s special conference in February was null and void because there is no provision for it in the party’s constitution. If that is the logic then all the previous special conferences were therefore unlawful.
That means the old committee clinging on to power was not lawfully elected because it came out of an illegal special conference.

Yet sister Mahase’s order gives power back to the old committee and instructs it to amend the constitution. This is the same constitution the judge admits was violated when the old committee was elected.
So there you have it: a committee borne out of a conference that was null and void is being granted power to amend the constitution. Phew!
So this creature created by a process that violated the constitution now has the power to amend the constitution.

In other words, according to the judge, the illegality to be remedied is the recent special conference and not the previous one. Which is to say the impact of this decade-long illegality is only on the recent special conference and the Mahao committee?
Thus, the judge is saying its fine for the party to be run by a committee elected through an illegal conference. Bunkum!
Equally shocking is that some members of the old committee brought the case challenging the results of the February conference.
The same committee organised the election. It funded the conference. Found a venue.

In the main case the applicants are not challenging the legality of the conference but the election results. That is to say they never had problems with the conference itself.
So in one case they are challenging the results of an election from a special conference while in the other they are winking at party members challenging the conference itself.
The old committee is thus admitting that the special conference it organised was illegal. In the same vein it is accepting that it is challenging the result of an illegal conference. Mohlolo!

It’s comical. It makes us look silly as a country.
Justice Mahase had the privilege of dealing with both cases. She is aware of the arguments in the cases. And that is what makes her judgement shocking.
In one case she is having a torrid time deciding if the election of a special conference was fair but in another she has had fun deciding that the conference itself is illegal.
The question then is: what is her problem with making a judgement in the main case whose fight is over an election from a conference she has already declared illegal?
It amounts to the same thing because if the special conference is illegal, as she says, it automatically follows that the election results don’t stand. This is not Law 101 but Grade One stuff.

Let’s turn to the flu matter. What shocks Muckraker is the speed with which she delivered judgement in the second case.
It shows that the sister can be efficient when she wants to be.
On Monday she was fit enough to hear a fresh case but on Wednesday she was too weak to deliver judgement in a case she had been handling for the past three months.
A round of applause for the sister is in order. She is a smooth operator.

Muckraker would love to have the special brand of flu ailing the judge.
One day it works like Qhoma-u-chehe that makes your body so weak that you cannot even deliver a judgement. And the next day it is giving you wings like Red Bull and you are delivering a judgement at the speed of lightning.
With such flu Muckraker can demand more work because flu has given her energy and she can refuse to come to work because the same flu has drained her energy.

It will be a useful virus to have because it gives you the leeway to be both lazy and hardworking. That way the employers will never pin you down.
I am working hard because I have flu. I am not working because I have flu. In such a world a sick note won’t be necessary because the flu makes you feel both good and bad, depending on the task at hand.

Justice Mahase is also teaching workers new tricks. Thanks to her statement in court we now know for sure that an employee can refuse to work if she has been insulted by a customer.
So a waiter can throw her tray at the manager and storm out because a patron has called her slow or clumsy.
Crime suspects, here is your ruse to piss off police officers when they are investigating your case. Just tell them that they are bribe-seeking good-for-nothing nincompoops and they will refuse to investigate you. Bingo!

Government employees now know how to deal with rude clients who call them lazy. Throw the pen at that foul-mouthed fellow and refuse to serve them.
There will be no repercussions because Justice Mahase has shown us the way. She has set a precedent. But you have to be smart about it like the judge. The trick is to be so painfully slow that the customers get irritated. Push them to the edge by loudly dragging your feet.

Then raise your ears like antennas so you can hear any slightest protest from the client. When they complain about the delay quickly walk away while screaming: “Did you hear that ‘Mannyeo?”, “Did you hear that Ntate?” The customer said “Nxa” to me.
Tell the customer to come back after a month because you are going to report the insult to your boss, the workers’ union and the client’s chief. Case closed.
Viva Justice Mahase!

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