MASERU — The Court of Appeal will on Tuesday rule whether three members of the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) have a legal right to force the party to call a special conference.
A panel of three Court of Appeal judges, Justice Michael Ramodibedi, Justice Lionel Melunsky and Justice Douglas Scott heard the case on Friday.
The three LCD members lodged the appeal with the Court of Appeal after the High Court dismissed their application in which they wanted the court to order the party’s national executive committee to hold the special conference.
Rethabile Marumo, MP for Mohobollo in Leribe district, Ramahooana Matlosa, chairman of the LCD Youth League in the Maseru No.32 Constituency and Ts’oeu Mokeretla MP for Mashai, had their application dismissed by Justice Kelello Guni in the High Court on September 9.
The High Court ruled that the three did not have legal authority to bring the case before the courts.
The three argued that the High Court erred in interpreting Clause 5.2 of the LCD constitution which deals with the holding of special conferences.
Counsel for the complainants, Advocate Kananelo Mosito KC, submitted to the Court of Appeal that the High Court ought to have ordered the NEC to go to the special conference.
“This is the case where we shall call upon the court to order the NEC to go to the conference and put their party which is in tatters together,” Mosito told the Court of Appeal judges.
Reacting to some of the submissions that the respondents argued that the applicants wanted to get rid of the NEC, Mosito argued that it was for the conference to solve such issues.
“They should wait for the special conference to decide, that is where they should complain,” Mosito said.
He added that since the complainants came from the constituencies, they have a right to sue in terms of the party’s constitution.
According to Mosito in terms of section (12) (a) of the LCD constitution, the applicants had locus standi and a duty to uphold and protect the constitution if they felt the national executive committee was not complying with the party constitution.
“Like in this case the executive committee has failed to call for the special conference,” Mosito said.
The applicants argued that under article 5.2 of the LCD constitution, the party is obliged to hold a special conference if at least 10 constituencies lodge a petition with the secretary general.
They said this had not been complied with.
They argued they are bound to suffer prejudice as the party was faced with divisions at a time when the party was supposed to go for national elections next year.
They said this made it imperative for the party to hold the special conference.
In his argument, Advocate Motiea Teele, asked the court not to look at Article 5.2 in isolation but along with the entire constitution.
He argued that the LCD national executive committee has power to order the calling of the conference.
Teele said the structures of the party are numerically superior to the national executive committee because every constituency is represented.
He said the three appellants had left their structures behind and did not constitute committees.
Teele said Article 12 (a) in no way confers locus standi on the individual members of the party but only allows them to pledge loyalty to the party.
Ruling will be delivered on Tuesday.