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Majoro ouster challenged



MASERU – TWO ousted members of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) have filed a case in the High Court challenging the party’s decision to fire Moeketsi Majoro as the party’s deputy leader.

Keketso Lepheane and Tlali Mohapi are also challenging the ABC’s National Executive Committee’s decision to expel them from the party.
They want the High Court to reverse the decisions.
In their urgent application filed on Monday, three days after the sacking of Majoro, the two said they want the national executive’s decision to recall Majoro and “instructing him to resign from Prime Ministerial position as unconstitutional, null and void”.

In his founding affidavit, Lepheane said the ABC executive committee and its leader former prime minister Thomas Thabane have consistently demonstrated a habit of violating the rule of law.
Lepheane cited the case of Tlali Khasu who he said was suspended from the party by Thabane in September 2016 for “discussing party issues on the radio”.

“The bottom-line for the suspension was actually triggered by the then Deputy Leader contesting the position of Opposition Leader in the National Assembly of Lesotho,” Lepheane said.
At the time, he said, Thabane had retired as Prime Minister and was receiving a prescribed pension.
Thabane’s decision to suspend Khasu was discussed and confirmed by the national executive committee.

He also recalled that two years later in 2018 similar treatment was meted out to Motlohi Maliehe, who was then chairman of the ABC and Minister of Tourism, for expressing his opinions at Thabane’s wife whom he said was fomenting chaos in the ABC.

Thabane suspended Maliehe and expelled him from his ministerial position, “for expressing his opinions and beliefs based on incontrovertible credible facts”.

Lepheane said in January 2019 the executive committee of the ABC expelled Professor Nqosa Mahao from the party after he had instituted a case in the courts over its decision to disqualify him from competing for the deputy leader’s position.
He said in October this year Thabane considered Mohapi to have resigned and purported to accept a self-created resignation, as if it was that of Mohapi.

Mohapi was thereafter prevented from attending the executive committee meetings and when he did “security personnel of the ABC were set unleashed onto him”.
“(Mohapi) was effectively suspended from NEC meetings by the Leader’s employ of theatrics and stratagem, simply because (he) was expressing his belief, opinion and dissent against the wrongful and unlawful conduct he was sought to engage into,” Lepheane said.

The peak of the executive committee’s untoward behavior, according to Lepheane, was earlier this month when the committee resolved to remove Majoro from the Prime Ministerial position, replacing him with deputy secretary general Nkaku Kabi.
“I aver that these decisions have serious implications not only to the stability of the government but also to the security of the state, investment and social and public order,” he said.
He said this narrative “presents a clear pattern of the rule of law violations and the disregard of the decisions of the courts of Lesotho to the leader, the NEC and the ABC”.

“Such conduct goes beyond a mere violation of the law and exhibit the inclination not to respect the law and to violate the constitutionally entrenched rights of the persons concerned with impunity.”
He said with the law as it presently stands “the ABC is regarded as a private entity and is treated as such”.

“Effectively, the violation of the rights and the disregard of the rule of law are subjected to the private space and rendered a private matter between the party (ABC), its structures and its members,” he said.
Calling for viewing political parties through the eyes of public law principles, Lepheane said their current status “as private entities regulated only by their respective constitutions and by-laws, is a fertile breeding ground for irresponsibility, lack of accountability and impunity”.

He said the history of Lesotho since 1970 to 1992, from 1993 to 2012, and from 2012 to 2021 “gives accounts of the destructive nature of political parties and the necessity to develop a regulatory framework applicable to them”.

He argued that since 2012 to 2021 Lesotho has been under four administrations and the collapse of coalition governments in 2015, 2017 and 2020 “is attributable not only to the politics of the time but immensely to irresponsible nature of the conduct of political parties which violated the constitution and other public law principles and norms”.

Staff Reporter

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Police hunt former minister



THE police have launched a hunt for former police minister, Lepota Sekola, who is suspected of involvement in stock theft.
Police want to arrest Sekola in connection with two cattle carcasses that were found at his grandfather’s funeral in Borokhoaneng three weeks ago.

During the initial interview, Sekola had insisted that the cows belonged to his late grandfather who had kept them in South Africa for better pastures.

The police didn’t arrest him at that time because investigations were still in the early stages. Further investigations have however led the police to believe that the animals were stolen from South Africa.

But when they were ready for the arrest, Sekola could not be found at his home or on his phone.

Police say Sekola will be charged with unlawful possession and illegal importation of two cows from South Africa.

The National Stock Theft Coordinator, Senior Superintendent Mapesela Klaass, told thepost last night that they “have completed investigations but he (Sekola) is nowhere to be seen”.

“We cannot get him on his mobile phones,” S/Supt Klaass said, adding that the police have been “visiting his home but he is not there”.

“His family members are aware that we are looking for him,” he said.

S/Supt Klaass said they are continuing with their search and as soon as they find him, they are going to drag him to the courts.

He said the police suspect the cows were brought from South Africa to be slaughtered for Sekola’s grandfather’s funeral.

Police sources told thepost that one of the cows had new branding while another had nothing. Both had holes on the ears that signalled that they used to have ear tags.

Majara Molupe

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Magistrate saves WILSA boss



A Maseru magistrate, Nthabiseng Moopisa, this week stayed the criminal prosecution of Advocate ’Mamosa Mohlabula who is accused of tax evasion, money laundering and corruption.

In her application Advocate Mohlabula, who is the director of Women and Law in Southern Africa (WILSA), said the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) should not charge her pending finalisation of her tax evasion case.

Advocate Mohlabula is out on bail after she was formally charged with tax evasion in July last year.

She told Magistrate Moopisa that the DPP, Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane, was wrong to have agreed with the Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to bring charges against her.

“In my viewpoint, the DCEO cannot be heard to charge me in relation to matters already seized with this Honourable Court,” she said in an affidavit.

She also said there is a pending civil case in the High Court in which the DCEO’s abuse of power is referenced, saying the precise way the case is handled will depend “on the way an alleged offence comes to the light”.

“Before that pending case is finalised, DCEO has no jurisdiction to detail me to court over isolated phenomenon of tax evasion and or over grievances of former employees of WILSA,” she said.
Advocate Mohlabula was charged together with the WILSA’s chief accounting officer.

She argued that it was WILSA that was being investigated, not individuals, further saying that was “a significant safeguard that the DCEO was impartial from an objective viewpoint”.

“To exclude any legitimate doubt in this respect the DCEO returned the items it seized from WILSA,” she said.

“This was a realistic and practical step towards administering justice and to avoid premature embarrassment to the management of WILSA.”

She said the Board of Trustees of WILSA were sent briefing notes which in certain respects reflected that the DCEO returned the properties of WILSA without warning them that they were suspects.

“In any event, we proceeded to fashion our arguments before the High Court. There was, and could be, no evidence to back up the decision of the DCEO to apply for the search warrant,” she said.

Advocate Mohlabula said before they took the matter to the High Court, she cooperated with the DCEO and it conducted an inquiry into the alleged crimes.

“Now that the matter is pending before the High Court, there is no more reason for the DCEO to remand me before the pending cases are finalised,” she said.

Staff Reporter

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Mphaka barred from ABC deputy’s race



THE All Basotho Convention (ABC) has barred former Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka and three others from contesting for the deputy leader’s position at an elective conference set for this week.
The three are Kefeletsoe Mojela, Katleho Molelle, and Lekhetho Mosito.

Mosito was an MP who was appointed Defence Minister for a day and removed the following day during Dr Moeketsi Majoro’s premiership.
The elective conference is set to be held at the Leqele High School hall this weekend.

A circular from the ABC said the three did not qualify to enter the race because they had not held any positions in the party’s committees.

The decision to bar the three is reminiscent of the same tactics that saw former leader Thomas Thabane block Professor Nqosa Mahao from contesting for the party’s deputy leader’s position.
Professor Mahao subsequently walked away and formed the Basotho Action Party (BAP).

A weakened ABC has never recovered from that split.

Mphaka and his colleagues were vying for the deputy leader’s position until they were stopped in their tracks by the circular which was issued out on Monday this week.
Dr Pinkie Manamolela is the current deputy leader.

She was plucked from the women’s league to replace Dr Majoro who had resigned from the national executive committee after losing the leadership race to Nkaku Kabi in 2022.

There is a high chance that the four could drag the ABC to court to assert their right to contest. The legal wrangles will likely destabilise the party that is still smarting from a thorough thrashing in general elections held in October 2022.

Mphaka this week told thepost that he will challenge the decision to block him in the courts of law.
“They are crazy people,” Mphaka said.

“I will not allow this to happen,” he said.

“I have already instructed my lawyers to launch an urgent application in the High Court to challenge the decision before Friday this week.”

He complained that it was not clear why the party had decided to kick him out of the race after he spent a lot of time and resources campaigning.

Mphaka said the national executive committee “usually allows members to contest for positions without considering whether they were ever in the constituency committees or not”.

The contenders in the race are former Water Minister Samonyane Ntsekele, ex-Police MP Lehlohonolo Moramotse, former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Leshoboro Mohlajoa, and Maseru Star Taxi Association member Sekhonyana Mosenene.

A member of the national executive committee told thepost that “many of us support Mphaka and Kefeletsoe at all costs”.

“We were dismayed when we saw the circular removing the duo from the race,” he said.

He said many ABC members were rallying behind Mphaka because “he has been campaigning even before everyone could start”.

“They know he has lots of followers.”

He said it is unfair that Mosenene has been allowed to run but he has never held any position in any constituency except that he represented his taxi association in the ABC national executive committee.
“Why has he been allowed to contest yet he is just like Mphaka and Kefeletsoe?”

He complained that Sekhonyana, while representing taxi operators in the committee, was eventually made the deputy party spokesman despite not being in any constituency committee after ’Matebatso Doti resigned from the position.

“Mphaka was chosen by the party to lead the 2022 elections campaign teams and develop a party manifesto,” he said.

“He was allowed to do all that without being involved in any party structures.”

The party’s spokesman Montoeli Masoetsa declined to comment.

Dr Manamolela told thepost that “the decision was not made by the party’s national executive committee”.

“I do not want to talk much …but it is not true that the party’s NEC decided to remove Mphaka and Kefeletsoe”.

Kabi could not be reached for comment.

Nkheli Liphoto

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