LCD conference verdict set for next week

MASERU — The High Court will next Tuesday rule whether the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) should hold a leadership conference or not.

Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi reserved the ruling in an application in which three members of the LCD have petitioned the court for an order to compel the LCD National Executive Committee (NEC) to hold the leadership conference.

The leadership conference is normally held between September and October and precedes the annual general conference held in January.

Ramahooana Matlosa, chairman of the LCD Youth League Committee in the Maseru No. 32 Constituency and two others want the party to call a leadership conference in line with the party’s constitution.

The applicants claim that it is mandatory for the party to hold the conference between September and October.

But Advocate Motiea Teele KC for the defendants said the party could not hold the conference at that time because they were busy focusing on preparing for the local government election held on October 1.

Justice Monaphathi told Teele that the problem with the national executive committee was that they did not communicate to the people through the relevant party structures.

“That point cannot stand unless they (applicants) could have brought structures to prove their point,” Teele replied.

He noted that preparations for next year’s general election including nominations for candidates were being made.

“This is a political party, it is not a church or a business, it exists to achieve its objectives,” Teele said asking the court to dismiss the application.

He argued that the leadership conference is attended by all structures of the party and the three applicants had no mandate to bring the application in their personal capacities.

Teele said if the three were allowed to bring every matter they differed with the national executive committee to court, this would render the running of the party virtually impossible.

He said Clause 12 (a) of the LCD constitution was silent about individuals coming to court, except to say that they will be loyal to the party.

“It does not confer locus standi on the individual,” Teele argued.

He said the leadership conference is attended by the whole NEC, youth and women’s league, because of their role in the structures of the party.

“No member can come to court in his personal capacity when his representative structure does not complain,” he said.

But the legal representative for the counsel, Advocate Letuka Alphonce Molati, argued that the central issue in the application is the remedy sought by the three applicants that the NEC of the LCD and the LCD itself should be ordered to hold the leadership conference.

This is in accordance with section 5.1 (d) and 5.3 of the constitution of the LCD, Molati said.

He said both the applicants and the party agree that the leadership conference had not been held.

“The court will observe that the constitution provides that the leadership conference should be held between September and October, and that cannot be an excuse by the NEC and the LCD not hold the leadership conference,” Molati said.

“Predominantly, the function is vested in the NEC, (but) if it does not comply it confers upon the cardholder to intervene,” he said.

He added that the applicants were suffering prejudice resulting from non-compliance with the constitution by the respondents.

Molati argued that the fact that the local government elections were held on October 1 did not hold water as there was no way the polls could affect the holding of a leadership conference.

He accused the NEC of “riding roughshod by not heeding the constitution and failing to inform the constituents that there would not be a leadership conference this year”.

He said Section 12 (a) of the LCD constitution gave members wider powers to approach the court to protect the constitution.

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