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Court postpones BNP leadership case

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Mohalenyane Phakela

THE seven prominent members of the Basotho National Party (BNP) who filed an urgent application for the immediate removal of party leader, Thesele ‘Maseribane, will have to wait longer for the case to be heard by the High Court.

This after Judge Thamsanqa Nomngcongo postponed to the matter to 16 April 2021. The postponement is meant to give time to allow both applicants and respondents to file all the necessary documents pertaining to the matter.

The seven had filed a 25 March 2021 application for the removal of Chief ‘Maseribane who is also Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing minister. They also want BNP deputy leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, to hold fort until a new leader is elected.

The seven applicants are prominent BNP members ‘Mota Nkuatsana, Moorosi Moshoeshoe, Emmanuel ‘Mako, Lesiamo Molapo, Mochai Mochai, Matobo Mabathoana and Michael Mohasi.

The BNP, BNP national executive committee (NEC), Chief ‘Maseribane and Mr Mofomobe are the first to fourth respondents respectively in the application.

The seven had asked that their application be treated with urgency, alleging that there would be “war and anarchy” within the BNP if Chief ‘Maseribane is not removed with immediate effect from the BNP leadership.

The matter was initially supposed to be heard on 1 April 2021 but this did not happen after Chief Maseribane indicated that he intended to oppose the application.

The case was then postponed to Tuesday on which date both the applicants and respondents’ lawyers had to appear before Justice Nomngcongo.

Advocates Mojalefa Shakhane and Letuka Molati are representing the applicants while the respondents are represented by Adv Christopher Lephuthing.

Following their Tuesday appearance before Justice Nomngcongo, the judge gave the respondents until today to have filed their answering affidavits. Justice Nomngcongo also ordered the applicants to file their reply on 13 April 2021. Thereafter, the court will sit on 16 April 2021 for Justice Nomngcongo to set the hearing date.

The applicants state that Chief ‘Maseribane became the BNP leader on 27 March 2011. They state that in terms of section 11(8) (c) of the BNP constitution, a leader can only hold office for a maximum of 10 years.

They argue that Chief ‘Maseribane’s term expired on 27 March 2021 which is 10 years to the date when he first assumed the reins. They further argue that the BNP should have elected a new leader last December and Chief ‘Maseribane should have formally handed over to the new leader when his term expired on 27 March 2021.

They are challenging the NEC’s 10 March 2021 circular which states that Chief ‘Maseribane’s tenure only ends on 13 June 2021.

They accuse Chief ‘Maseribane and his fellow respondents of “intending to breach the constitution of the BNP in that they want to extend the term in office of the leader of BNP beyond the prescribed maximum period of 10 years for which a person can be a leader of BNP”.

 

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