Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

DC boycotts IEC tribunal

Caswell Tlali & Nat Molomo

MASERU — The ruling Democratic Congress (DC) says it will boycott a tribunal convened by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as it is not happy with its chairman who it accuses of bias.
The DC general secretary, Ralechate ’Mokose, told the Sunday Express on Friday that the party will not attend any further hearings presided by Advocate Sakoane Sakoane.
’Mokose said attending hearings chaired by Sakoane “were as good as not attending at all” as he was biased.
’Mokose’s remarks come after the DC boycotted a tribunal hearing on Friday in a case in which the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) is arguing that some committee members from 20 constituencies seized the party’s property when they defected to the DC in February.
The hearing went ahead in the absence of representatives from the DC.
“Sakoane has a right to reach decisions in our absence as much as we have rights not to attend tribunals under his chairmanship,” ’Mokose said.
“We decided not to go to Sakoane’s tribunal because we have issues with him. We wrote the IEC chairperson telling her all the reasons for boycotting the hearing.”
’Mokose declined to reveal the contents of his letter to IEC chairperson Limakatso Mokhothu.
Sakoane however insisted that the hearing should proceed even in the absence of DC officials.
He said under the terms of paragraph 4 (l) of the Electoral Code of Conduct all political parties were duty bound to co-operate with the tribunal when they are called to respond to any allegations during election time.
“The tribunal will go ahead with the case till the end whether the DC is there or not. What is important is that electoral justice must be done in this matter,” Sakoane said.
He said even if the DC felt that he was biased in favour of the LCD they had an obligation to come before the tribunal and say so.
“Even in court, if you want a judge to recuse himself, one has to move an application supporting it with reasons,” he said.
The LCD argues that members of the 20 constituency committees took the party’s property when they defected to the DC in February.
A witness from Malimong Constituency in Berea, Malefetsane Mothobi, told the tribunal that an official only identified as Likuena, who was the constituency chairman, told him in one of their meetings that the party books were now belonging to their new party because they bought them with their money.
“When I told him that the books belong to us because they were bought by LCD members, he insisted that they were theirs,” Mothobi said.
Mothobi submitted that Likuena told him that the stamp was bought by their member, Lebohang Moeketsi.
“As for membership cards and flags, Likuena said they no longer have them because they had burned them,” Mothobi said.
Mothobi said Likuena had told him that the constituency did not have any money.
The hearing continues.
Last month Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili lashed out at Sakoane after his DC supporters were attacked by a mob in Thetsane industrial area.
Mosisili told his supporters that he was not happy with Sakoane after he said “political rallies were not church” gatherings where people were expected to behave in a certain manner.
The DC leader said Sakoane should be happy that there was bloodshed in Thetsane after he took his party’s complaints lightly.
It was however not clear whether Mosisili’s comments could have contributed to the DC’s decision to boycott Friday’s hearing.

Comments are closed.