ABC war spills into the courts

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Mohalenyane Phakela

SIX members of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) have taken their battle for the control of the party’s Qeme constituency committee to the High Court.

The six are Samuel Lethe, Matokelo Ramatobo, Matala Mochochokoane, Matsokolo Mochochokoane, Lesoiti Kobile and Nkina Nthabi.

They want the court to declare them as the legitimate committee on the grounds that they were elected in February 2018.

The ABC’s national executive committee (NEC), the ABC, Messrs Thabiso Tsasane, Sekonyela Lekau and Lisema Maselela are the first to fifth respondents respectively in the application.

Messrs Tsasane, Lekau and Maselela are currently in the Qeme Constituency Committee.

However, the applicants want the court to order them to “desist from holding themselves as the legitimate members of the Qeme Constituency Committee”.

They also want the ABC and the NEC to be “interdicted and restrained from working with the Qeme Constituency Committee constituting of the third to fifth respondents (Messrs Tsasane, Lekau and Maselela) in relation to the affairs of the ABC.

“That the ABC’s NEC be interdicted and restrained from sidelining the party’s legitimate Qeme Constituency Committee constituting of the applicants herein. “That the ABC NEC be interdicted and restrained from involving itself in the internal affairs of the Qeme Constituency Committee,” the applicants state in their court papers.

One of the applicants, Mr Nthabi states in his founding affidavit that they are the legitimate committee as they were “elected” on 11 February 2018.

He says he obtained 152 out of the 169 votes cast to become the constituency’s secretary. He said his co-applicants also won the posts they competed for including the chairperson and treasurer’s posts.

“The third to fifth respondents (Messrs Tsasane, Lekau and Maselela) were dissatisfied with our nomination and election and took turns to challenge the same by holding another meeting on 18 February 2018 at which they were purported to have been nominated and elected as members of the Qeme Constituency Committee.

“The NEC indicated to them that it did not recognise their committee as the legitimate one and that it only recognised the Qeme Constituency Committee which was elected on 11 February 2018. After being rejected by the NEC, they went further to challenge our nomination and election by instituting an application before this court. The matter was scheduled to proceed on 3 June 2021. The matter did not proceed as scheduled because they withdrew their application,” Mr Nthabi states.

He says the withdrawal of the trio’s June 2021 litigation gave them the impression that Messrs Tsasane, Lekau and Maselela had conceded that they were the legitimate committee of the Qeme constituency.

He said to their surprise, the NEC had started working with Messrs Tsasane, Lekau and Maselela despite that they were not the legitimate constituency committee.

This has not only prejudiced them but also caused confusion among party members in Qeme, Mr Nthabi argues.

“As a direct consequence of the foregoing, our members who wish to renew their party membership are very much sceptical about whether we are indeed the proper authority to receive and process their applications. If this problem is not addressed urgently, then the party stands to suffer prejudice in that some members will end up leaving our party due to instability and join other rival political parties in pursuit of stability,” Mr Nthabi further argues.

The factionalism in Qeme mirrors the bigger infighting in the party pitting ABC leader Thomas Thabane against his deputy, Moeketsi Majoro. (See story above).

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