Move to block conference

Move to block conference

MASERU – PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane has moved to block a special conference called by a faction of his All Basotho Convention (ABC) led by Professor Nqosa Mahao.

The conference, which is set for Saturday, was likely to endorse a decision by the Mahao camp to boot out Thabane for sowing seeds of confusion within the party.

On Tuesday this week, a faction backing Thabane made the first move after it filed an urgent application in the High Court seeking to block the conference.

Nkaku Kabi, who was appointed by Thabane to run the affairs of the party, asked the court to interdict Mahao, Lebohang Hlaele, Samuel Rapapa, ’Matebatso Doti, Montoeli Masoetsa and their followers from convening, holding and addressing the intended special conference of the ABC.

Kabi wants the High Court to declare the intended special conference unlawful, null and void and of no legal force and effect.

He also asked that the Mahao camp be interdicted from using in any manner any colours, flags and emblems of the ABC. “Mahao and co-accused have been given a grace period of three days within which to show cause why could not be expelled. They for reasons best known to them decided not to show cause and the Leader of ABC ultimately expelled them on June 17,” Kabi said in an affidavit.

He said on June 26, the national executive committee of ABC sat and affirmed the decision of the party leader to expel them from the party.

“The respondents on June 24 filed an urgent application challenging their expulsion from ABC and the application was opposed by present applicants,” he said.

Kabi argued that Professor Mahao’s camp sought to have the operation and execution of the decision of Thabane to expel them as members of the ABC stayed pending finalisation of their application.
“Arguments on the interim reliefs were heard and the court refused to grant all their interim prayers, expect for dispensation,” he said.

He added as per the interim court order, the court refused to stay the operation and the execution of the decision of Thabane to expel the respondents as members of the ABC.

“In other words, Mahao and others remain dismissed from the party unless and until they are granted prayer 6.1 of their notice of motion stating that the decision made by Thabane to expel them should be stayed and declared null and void,” he said.

He further argued that despite the refusal of their interim reliefs, they continued to hold themselves as members of the ABC NEC to an extent that they are still preparing to hold the special conference on Saturday.
Kabi said following their failure to hae their expulsion suspended by the court, the Professor Mahao camp then held a media conference where they announced that the NEC had decided to suspend him and Thabane from the party pending disciplinary hearing.

He complained that the Professor Mahao camp continued to hold a rally in Welkom, South Africa, despite that Thabane had expelled them from the party.

“It was at that rally where they presented themselves as not only as members of the ABC but also members of its NEC and even delivered speeches in such capacity,” he said.

“We as members of NEC engaged with the South African (authorities) to prevent that rally but we were unsuccessful.”

He said the NEC never set on June 14 or any other day for that matter to resolve to hold a special conference.
“I specifically challenge the respondents, Lebohang Hlaele in particular, to produce any tangible evidence that lists members of NEC that were present in the alleged meeting.”

He said what actually transpired is that following the judgement of the court, former secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele and Hlaele met on June 13 and agreed that the outgoing and incoming committee NECs should hold a meeting on June 17 for handover and to enable the new NEC to assume office.

He said following their meeting, Hlaele spoke about the agreement on several local radio stations.
“It was improbable that the NEC could then sit on the 14 June 2019 before the official handover,” he said.
Kabi said there has never been a request to hold a special conference by any of the ABC’s constituencies.
He said when the official handover was held on June 26, there was nothing on the records to suggest that there had been such a request.

“By virtue of my position, I could have seen such a request as all the documents of the ABC including stamps, official letterheads and all the properties of the party were handed over to me and they remain under my legal possession and control until when I deposed to this affidavit,” he said.

“They will remain under my control until such time that the position of the secretary general would have been filled in terms of the constitution of the party,” he said. Masoetsa told thepost last night that the case will be heard today.
“As for us, we want the special conference so that this impasse is resolved for good,” he said.

Itumeleng Khoete

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