NIP leadership wrangle rages on

MASERU — The court battle for the leadership of the National Independent Party (NIP) is still on despite the death of party president Dominic Motikoe, a lawyer dealing with the matter said this week.

Advocate Thabang Khauoe, representing NIP founder Anthony Manyeli who is challenging the legality of the executive committee that was led by Motikoe, said the battle was far from over.

The party’s general conference early last year elected Motikoe as the new leader and appointed a new executive.

Manyeli is challenging the elections alleging that the conference was unconstitutionally convened.

Khauoe said the case will proceed despite Motikoe’s death.

“The case will still proceed because he (Motikoe) was not cited in his personal capacity. He was cited in his nominal capacity,” Khauoe said.

However, Khauoe said parties involved in the case were still struggling to get a judge to preside over the case.

He said the case was initially before High Court judge Tséliso Monaphathi but it was allocated to another judge.

“He could not proceed with the case because he had a part-heard matter that was proceeding before him. He could not hear us,” said Khauoe.

The case was allocated to Justice Nthomeng Majara but she could not proceed because she is related to Manyeli who is the litigant in the case, Khauoe said.

“Justice Majara is also unable to proceed with the matter because she was raised by the applicant (Manyeli),” he said.

“Therefore she is bound to recuse herself. We still have to find another judge.”

In his court papers Manyeli is seeking the court to declare the said conference null and void.

The conflict within the opposition NIP leadership surfaced in 2006 when Motikoe signed an alliance deal with the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party’s deputy leader Lesao Lehohla ahead of the 2007 general elections.

The alliance saw the NIP and LCD sharing the 21 proportional representation seats in the national assembly.

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