ConCourt reserves judgement in Metsing, Mochoboroane application

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Mohalenyane Phakela

THE Constitutional Court has reserved judgement in a case in which top politicians, Mothetjoa Metsing and Selibe Mochoboroane, are seeking the rescission of its October 2018 judgement which nullified a deal to defer the criminal prosecutions of politicians until the completion of the current multi-sector reforms process.

Justice Molefi Makara said this was to give the Constitutional Court time to write the judgement, a process he said might take three weeks.   Justice Makara heard the application alongside Acting Chief Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase and the now retired Justice Semapo Peete.

Clause 10 of the 2018 agreement between then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s government and the opposition defers the trials of Mr Metsing and other opposition politicians at least until after the implementation of the multi-sector reforms recommended by SADC in 2016.

Th agreement cleared the way for Mr Metsing’s November 2018 return from exile to participate in the multi-sector reforms process. However, the clause was invalidated in November 2028 by the same Constitutional Court bench comprising of Justices Makara, Mahase and Peete.

This after the late Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng’s father, Thabo Khetheng, petitioned the court to declare it unconstitutional saying self-serving agreements between politicians could not outstrip the constitution.

PC Khetheng was allegedly murdered by fellow police officers on 26 March 2016. The opposition Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) deputy leader Tšeliso Mokhosi was initially charged with PC Khetheng’s murder alongside four senior police officers.

He was turned into a state witness in June 2020. Prior to that in November 2018, PC Khetheng’s father had successfully challenged the constitutionality of clause 10 of the government-opposition agreement to ensure Mr Mokhosi would be charged.

The successful challenge also cleared the way for Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane to be charged with treason in connection with the 30 August 2014 attempted coup against the first government of Mr Thabane.

The duo is supposed to be charged alongside former army commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and an army officer, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane.

But on 25 February 2020 Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane petitioned the Constitutional Court to rescind its earlier judgement on the grounds that they were not joined in the application when clause 10 was nullified yet they were interested parties in the litigation.

Justice Makara, who wrote the initial November 2018 judgement, said on Tuesday he would need at least three weeks to write the new judgement because he and others were overwhelmed with work.

“We are overwhelmed with a lot of work,” Justice Makara said.

“Besides this case, I have to write two more judgements. I will try to finish this judgement within three weeks. You will be notified should there be any obstacles,” Justice Makara said.

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