Principal Chief defies High Court order

MASERU — Chief Magistrate has ruled that Principal Chief of Thaba-Bosiu, Khoabane Theko should be evicted from a house he has been using since he was a boy.
Makara’s order comes a year after he heard a contempt of court case in which Chief Theko allegedly refused to vacate the house after losing a civil case to former politician, Moeketsi Tsatsanyane.
The default judgment had been given to Tsatsanyane in 1994 in a case in which he claimed that the house the chief was living in, which is situated in Ha-Tšosane in south-eastern outskirts of Maseru, belonged to him.
Tsatsanyane claimed that he bought the house in 1991 from its owner, Liphapang Madubu, who has since died.
Theko grew up living with his late mother, ’Mankata Theko, in this house.
Tsatsanyane in court papers says Theko since March 1991 has been refusing to vacate his property despite his many demands.
“I am the lawful user and occupier of flat no. 14283-081 situated at Ha-Ts’osane in Maseru City,” Tsatsanyane told the court in papers.
“I hold a lease to the said site.”
Tsatsanyane says the site had been left by Madubu in the custody of Theko’s family when he went to South Africa.
He says when Madubu came back he sold the site, which was already developed and legally registered in his names, to him.
“Immediately after the sale of the developed site in question, but before transfer had legally been effected to me, I and the owner approached (Theko) who was then occupying the house on the site,” Tsatsanyane wrote.
“(We) informed him (Theko) about our arrangement and asked him to vacate the premises but he openly refused to do so.”
Tsatsanyane then approached the court seeking the chief’s ejectment.
Theko was given a chance to file a notice of intention to defend and answer Tsatsanyane’s claims.
Theko filed the notice of intention to oppose but never made it to court on a set date.
That was when Tsatsanyane sought a default judgment and got a warrant of ejectment.
Theko allegedly refused to comply with the court’s order.
In an affidavit a messenger of court, Lisema Malefane, says he “left a copy of the warrant with an elderly person who was well above the age of 16 years” known as Litsebe at Theko’s residence.
“I went to see the Respondent (Theko) personally at the parliament where he works. I confronted (him) about the aforesaid warrant and he admitted having received (it),” Malefane said.
He said the chief told him “that he would not vacate the said site and whoever wants him to vacate the site is dreaming.”
Theko is reported to have said he had papers evidencing his ownership of the property.
Theko told the Lesotho Times yesterday that his lawyer would take the case further because the warrant of ejectment Tsatsanyane had was “a non-starter.”
“It is a non-starter because I was not even aware that I had to appear before court. My lawyer will challenge it,” Theko said.
“It is surprising that this Tsatsanyane of yours ignored an earlier arrangement of an out of court settlement and said he wanted the house not the settlement,” he said.
Theko said he would not tell the details of his objection to the warrant of ejectment because he regards the matter to be still in court.

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