THE much-anticipated court application by three All Basotho Convention (ABC) legislators challenging the results of the party’s 1-2 February 2019 elective conference failed to kick off this week due to the unavailability of the presiding judge, Acting Chief Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase, who is said to be ill.
The case will now be heard on a yet to be announced date next week. As a result, the judgement can no longer be handed down tomorrow as Justice Mahase had envisaged when she heard the case on the 6th of this month.
Three ABC legislators Habofanoe Lehana (Khafung), Keketso Sello (Hlotse) and Mohapi Mohapinyane (Rothe) challenged the outcome of the party’s elective conference which ushered in a new ABC national executive committee (NEC) with Professor Nqosa Mahao as the deputy leader of the ABC.
The trio want the court to nullify the outcome of the entire February elections and order fresh polls within three months of their application.
In her 6 March 2019 court order, Acting Chief Justice, ‘Maseforo Mahase had given the old and new ABC’s NEC factions up to 19 March to resolve their differences failing which they would have to return to court on 20 March. But on that day the case failed to proceed as one of the respondents’ lawyers, Advocate Ranale Thoahlane called in sick.
It was postponed to the 25th of March and again it failed to proceed. This time due to Justice Mahase’s illness.
On Monday lawyers from both sides were told that Justice Mahase was absent from work due to an undisclosed illness and they would be given another date for the hearing.
“We were told that the Acting Chief Justice is sick and we will be given another date when she is well and ready to proceed,” one of the respondents lawyers, ‘Mabatṧoeneng Hlaele, told the Lesotho Times on Monday.
Yesterday, Justice Mahase’s clerk, Advocate Nthati Molapo, told this publication that the judge would only return to work next week.
“Justice Mahase is still not well but she is expected back at work on Monday,” Adv Molapo said.
The ABC, the ABC’s NEC, the Lesotho Council of Non-governmental Organisations (LCN), Prof Mahao and other candidates in the ABC polls are cited as the first to 44th respondents in the lawsuit. The LCN are cited in their capacity as the organisation that ran the polls on behalf of the ABC and announced the new NEC line-up.