THE High Court is today expected to make a decision on whether the Democratic Congress (DC) party special conference will go ahead tomorrow as planned.
DC leader, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili called a special conference for DC members from tomorrow until Sunday to decide the fate of 10 members of the party’s executive committee (NEC) who are locked in a bitter struggle with him for control of the party.
In his invitation to DC members, Dr Mosisili alleged the 10 NEC members, including his deputy Monyane Moleleki, had thrown the party into disrepute through their attempts to unseat him.
He has since suspended them pending the decision of the special conference.
He also filed an urgent application before the High Court last Friday to compel them to hand over party symbols.
Dr Mosisili also wants the court to endorse his suspension of the 10 NEC members “in terms of clause 5.3.1 (h) of the constitution of the Democratic Congress”.
The 10 NEC members have also lodged a High Court application of their own, challenging Dr Mosisili’s legitimacy as DC leader following his suspension from the party by the NEC.
They also want the court block the special conference he has called for tomorrow.
But on Monday, the court consolidated the two applications so that they could be argued together.
The court also decided that the applications would be argued today to finality.
The fallout escalated in recent weeks after NEC followed up on their decision to withdraw from the seven parties’ coalition government by signing a coalition agreement with the tripartite opposition bloc last Thursday to oust the seven-party coalition government led by Dr Mosisili.
Under the pact with the All Basotho Convention, Basotho National Party and Reformed Congress of Lesotho, Mr Moleleki would head the coalition for the first 18 months in the event they form government.
The coalition pact has likely put paid to any chances of the strife-torn DC reconciling as the two factions aligned to the two gladiators had already dug in their heels. Mr Moleleki is an avowed member of the DC’s Lirurubele (butterflies) faction that is fighting the Lithope (girlfriends) grouping which supports Dr Mosisili, for the control of the party.
The bulk of the NEC who are aligned to Mr Moleleki, on 10 November this year withdrew the DC from the seven-party governing coalition government and ordered party members, including Dr Mosisili, to resign from their government positions.
Dr Mosisili has since dismissed the move as “null and void”, saying the NEC did not have the powers to make such a decision.
Mr Moleleki as well as four other ministers and deputies resigned from government, before moving to the National Assembly’s crossbench to signify their withdrawal from the government.
The NEC went on to suspend Dr Mosisili for alleged misconduct, but the premier has insisted he remains DC leader and called for the emergency party conference from 2 to 4 December this year to take “harsh disciplinary measures” on the NEC for its decisions that are “dangerous to the party”.
He said the “so-called suspension” was an illegal attempt to hijack his constitutional powers as party leader by “rebels” led by Mr Moleleki.
Dr Mosisili said the “rebels” also included DC Secretary-General Ralechate ’Mokose, Chairperson ’Maboiketlo Maliehe, Deputy Secretary-General Refiloe Litjobo, Deputy Chairperson Kose Makoa, Deputy Editor Retšelisitsoe Masenyetse, Second Member Ndiwuhleli Ndlomose, third member ’Mathabo Shao, fourth member Rethabile Marumo and Youth League President Thuso Litjobo.
Last week, the Prime Minister also suspended Mr Moleleki and nine other NEC members after they failed to respond to his letters requesting them to motivate why they should not be suspended.
In the court application lodged on Friday, Dr Mosisili, together with DC spokesperson Serialong Qoo, Treasurer ‘Mamphono Khaketla and ‘Maphakiso Moseme want the court to order the 10 NEC members to hand over the official letterhead, stamp and any other DC office equipment pending the convening of the special conference.
Mr Moleleki and ‘Mokose are cited as first and second respondents, while Ms Maliehe, Mr Ndlomose, Mr Makoa, Ms Marumo, Mr Masenyetse, Refiloe and Thuso Litjobo as well as Ms Shao are cited as third to tenth respondents respectively.
In their certificate of urgency, the applicants argue Mr Moleleki is engaged in “ongoing acts of unlawfulness” and “causing confusion within the party”.
The applicants also argue that the 10 NEC members are “illegally interfering with the party processes aimed at addressing their rebellious behaviour”.
Dr Mosisili and his co-applicants are seeking an order for the respondents to be ordered to “desist forthwith” from communicating and making publications in the name of the party pending finalisation of the case.
On the NEC’s decision to pull out of the coalition government, Dr Mosisili argues it was unprocedural and thus unlawful as there was no meeting called to discuss the issue.
Dr Mosisili says after Mr Moleleki and other ministers resigned, they continued making media announcements about the DC “that were aimed at destroying peaceful relations that the DC has with its partners in the coalition government”.