MASERU — The High Court on Friday issued an interim order barring a faction of the Basotho Congress Party (BCP) from holding an elective conference.
The order to stop the conference was issued by High Court judge Justice Thamsanca Nomngcongo.
The conference had been called by a faction of the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) to elect a new national executive committee.
The group called itself the Committee of 17.
In its court application the BCP says it wants an order interdicting the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Registrars of Societies from dealing with or entertaining Ntsukunyane Mphanya, Matsobane Putsoa and the Basutoland Congress Party or their agents from dealing with the affairs of the Basotho Congress Party except through the national executive committee of the Basotho Congress Party.
The applicants want the court to restrain the respondents from holding themselves out as legitimate members of the Basutoland Congress Party, pending the finalisation of the application.
They also want the court to declare that the Basutoland Congress Party is one and the same entity as the Basotho Congress Party.
The applicants also want the court to rule that the circular or letter written by Mphanya to the constituencies calling for the conference was unconstitutional.
They argue that Mphanya’s Lekhotla la Mahatammoho Committee of 17 must be declared null and void as it related to the Basutoland Congress Party currently called Basotho Congress Party.
According to the Basotho Congress Party (BCP) legal representative, Zwelakhe Mda, the faction of the Basutoland Congress Party led by Mphanya has been given an opportunity to file their replying papers by tomorrow, while the Basotho Congress Party led by Thulo Mahlakeng has been given until Wednesday to file their papers.
The application will be heard on Thursday.
The applicants who opposed this weekend’s conference are the national executive committee of the Basotho Congress Party led by Thulo Mahlakeng while the respondents are Mphanya and Matsobane Putsoa, a Maseru businessman.
Other respondents are the BCP Committee of 17, the Independent Electoral Commission, Registrar of Societies and the Attorney-General.
In his affidavit Mahlakeng, the president and leader of the Basotho Congress Party, said the Committee of 17’s decision to hold an elective conference was in direct violation of the party’s constitution.
“The sheer audacity to ride roughshod over the entire establishment, administration and constitution of the Basotho Congress Party (second applicant) displayed here is appalling,” Mahlakeng said.
Mahlakeng states in his court papers that Mphanya was not even a member of the Basotho Congress Party, but was merely a chairman of an entity called Mahatammoho a Poelano (Boiphihlelo Convention for Progress (BCP), an entity that had nothing to do with the Basotho Congress Party national executive committee.
Mahlakeng says the move to call the conference was an attempt to stage a coup d’etat against the current national executive committee of the Basotho Congress Party.
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