’Marafaele Mohloboli & Nat Molomo
THE All Basotho Convention (ABC)’s Koro-Koro constituency committee has made good on its promise to petition the courts for an order to nullify the disqualification of Professor Nqosa Mahao from contesting the party’s deputy leader post.
The urgent application was tabled on Tuesday in a courtroom packed to the brim by the constituency committee’s chairperson Phohleli Phohleli and secretary Morake Keketsi. It’s now due to be heard on Saturday.
The Koro-Koro committee is basically seeking an order nullifying both the decision by the ABC’s national executive committee (NEC) to disqualify Prof Mahao from contesting as well as its own suspension by the party after it launched its own spirited fight against the professor’s disqualification.
Prof Mahao, Transport Minister Prince Maliehe, outspoken legislator and party chairman Motlohi Maliehe, Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro, the Executing Working Committee of the ABC, the ABC NEC and the ABC are cited as the first to the seventh respondents respectively.
Koro-Koro wants the court to “review, correct and/or set aside” the respondents’ decision to disqualify Pro Mahao from the elective conference set for 1 and 2 February 2019.
It wants the respondents to show cause why: “The decision of the NEC to decline and or cancel the Koro-Koro constituency nomination of Prof Mahao as deputy leader of ABC shall not be declared null and void and of no force or effect”.
The committee also wants the court to nullify its own suspension by the ABC for indiscipline after it convened a press conference to support Prof Mahao. It further wants the ABC’s directive to bestow the responsibility of running the Koro-Koro women’s and youth league committees to the party’s secretary general’s office reviewed and set aside.
But perhaps even more significantly, the Koro-Koro committee wants clause 5 (e) of the ABC’s own constitution, which directs that a member of the party shall automatically forfeit their membership the moment they take the party to court, declared null and void because it contravenes the national constitution which guarantees everyone’s right of access to national courts.
Clauses in constitutions of organizations that seek to forbid members from using the national courts to seek redress whenever their rights are infringed have generally not found favour with the courts in many other countries.
Koro-Koro bizarrely cites Prof Mahao, in whose corner the constituency committee is fighting as a respondent in the case. Mr Phohleli said they had cited Prof Mahao as a respondent in the case because they (the constituency committee) had been caught in the cross fire while fighting for him yet the professor had gone silent.
“Suddenly Prof Mahao has gone all quiet while we are being thrown from pillar to post. Our fear is that he might have been bribed into silence. We want to know why he is silent when all this is happening because of him,” Mr Phohleli said.
The applicants are represented by Khotso Nthontho attorneys.
The court challenge is the result of internal fissures currently rocking the ruling party after it disqualified Prof Mahao leaving the two Maliehes and Dr Majoro as the only contestants for the top post.
The party’s NEC resolved to bar Professor Mahao because he has not “served at the party’s branch and constituency levels for at least 24 and 36 months” respectively as required by the ABC constitution.”
The constituency committee held a press conference last month to voice its support for Prof Mahao. However, the NEC immediately responded by suspending the committee from all party activities, a decision it now wants reviewed.
The committee argues that its suspension was irregular and prejudicial to its constituents who can no longer access membership cards and information about the party in the form of circulars because of the suspension.