MASERU – Lawyers for the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) yesterday asked the High Court to throw out an application seeking to block the party’s special conference.
Advocate Kananelo Mosito said the court should dismiss the application filed by five LCD members seeking to block the special conference.
The five, Mafa Thibeli, Ramoshe Maumo, Rammapane Maleke, Tŝoanelo Ramakeoane and Teboho Sekata filed an urgent application in the High Court seeking an order declaring the conference unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
But Mosito argued that the five did not have a right to block the conference that is scheduled for next Saturday.
He urged High Court judge Justice Nthomeng Majara to reject the application.
He said the five had failed to demonstrate in court papers how their rights would be violated by the special conference.
“In order for them to be entitled to what they are seeking they should fulfil certain requirements.
“In terms of the High Court Act the court can give an interdict when the court finds that the applicants have a legal right.
“What is required is a legal interest. This is a question of locus standi,” Mosito said.
He said the applicants had failed to demonstrate in court papers that they were likely to suffer prejudice if a vote of no confidence against the executive committee is to be discussed at the special conference.
Mosito said it would have been different if the five applicants were members of the nation executive committee (NEC) whose membership in the committee was being challenged.
“They are not members of the national executive committee who are on the verge of facing a vote of no confidence.
“They are in no different position with (Maboella) Lebabo and (Thuso) Litjobo,” he added.
Lebabo and Litjobo last month lost a case in which they wanted to be enjoined in the application to block the special conference.
Justice Majara however rejected their application on the grounds that they did not have legal capacity to be joined to the proceedings.
The judge said the two had failed to demonstrate their legal and direct interest in the case.
Mosito argued that the five applicants were mere party members who will not suffer any harm if the special conference to discuss the ouster of some members of the executive committee is convened.
Responding to a question by Justice Majara as to who are the rightful people to challenge the special conference, Mosito said: “At worst it would be the members of the national executive committee who could complain that they are going to be removed from the committee.”
A lawyer representing the five, Advocate Zwelakhe Mda, said his clients approached the court after realising that the NEC had called an unconstitutional special conference.
He said it is unconstitutional because it seeks to discuss a vote of no confidence against some members of the executive committee while excluding Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and his deputy Lesao Lehohla.
Mda said although the NEC had called the conference it also does not approve such conference.
“NEC declares that there cannot be a conference to discuss the unconstitutional issues.
“The stance of the national executive committee is that it still stands by its response but was merely implementing the resolution of the leadership conference,” Mda said.
Mda had said the NEC had objected to the letters forwarded to it by 26 constituencies calling for a special conference to move a vote of no confidence in the executive committee.
Mda said it is not proper to wait for the conference and then approach the court later complaining about the unconstitutionality of the conference.
“Looking at the danger of this conference the applicants had to come to court seeking the court’s aid and not to await the outcome of the conference,” Mda said.
But Mosito said the five applicants seem to be ignoring some provisions of
the party’s constitution by challenging the resolutions of the leadership conference.
“The constitution says the resolutions and directives of the conference shall be binding to the committees, sub-committees and all members of the party.
“Now the question is: are these applicants respecting the resolutions of the conference?” Mosito asked.
Justice Majara said she would deliver judgment next Thursday, two days before the special conference is due to start.
But the Lesotho Times understands that a closed LCD meeting last Saturday resolved that the special conference should be held regardless of the outcome of the case.
The five applicants were represented by Advocates Mda and Sakoane Sakoane.
LCD, LCD’s leadership conference and the LCD’s NEC were represented by a team of three lawyers namely; Advocates Mosito, Salemane Phafane and Patrick Tšenoli.