Metsing, Mochoboroane to appeal ruling

Metsing, Mochoboroane to appeal ruling

MASERU-MOTHETJOA Metsing and Selibe Mochoboroane are appealing against last Thursday’s Constitutional Court judgment that they should be charged with treason.

The two leaders’ political parties, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and the Movement for Economic Change (MEC), said they are working closely to prepare the appeal.
Metsing and Mochoboroane were challenging the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane’s decision to charge them for treason despite a standing agreement with the government that it would not do so.

That agreement was overseen by SADC envoy to Lesotho, former South African judge Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
Clause 10 of the agreement stipulated that Metsing and any other politician would not be charged for any crimes until after the national reforms.
But in a stunning twist to the matter, the Constitutional Court last Thursday ruled that the provision was unconstitutional.

The judgment was a major blow to Metsing and Mochoboroane’s attempts to dodge trial.
The two politicians will now have to join former army commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli in the dock.

Their treason trial stems from the events of August 30, 2014 when the army, then under Lt Gen Kamoli, stormed the State House and the police headquarters in an attack the then government said was an attempted coup.

Lt Gen Kamoli has denied the charge.
Metsing and Mochoboroane are now set to appeal against last week’s Constitutional Court ruling.
“The appeal could be lodged by the end of this week,” the MEC spokesperson Motlalentoa Khoete said.

He said they have been working together with the LCD over the case.
Khoete said the matter is a political issue.
He said South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa delegated Justice Moseneke to deal with Lesotho’s political upheavals.

At the time the LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing was in exile in South Africa.
Khoete said SADC persuaded Metsing to return home so that he could take part in the reforms on condition that he would not be charged.
He said that agreement was signed by the Lesotho government and the opposition.

Khoete said although Mochoboroane was not in exile, Clause 10 of the agreement said “no court proceedings will be instituted against those similarly placed”.
He said his leader, Mochoboroane, was “similarly placed” because he was charged under the same conditions and therefore the charges should be stopped pending the reforms.

“Now we are surprised to see this happening to our leader,” Khoete said.
“We will not give up on this,” he said.
He said they will also inform SADC about the latest developments.
Meanwhile, the LCD spokesperson Apesi Ratšele said an appeal on the matter is imminent.

Ratšele said they are not happy with the judgement at all.
“We understand that the judges have not worked on this issue properly,” he said.
He said their lawyer will unpack their grounds for appeal when he appears in court.

Last Thursday, the court ruled that for any international agreement to be binding in Lesotho, it would have to be domesticated into local law through an Act of parliament first.
The judgement was read by Justices ’Maseforo Mahase, Molefi Makara and Semapo Peete.

Majara Molupe

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