Bongiwe Zihlangu & Limpho Sello
MASERU — The Democratic Congress (DC) has accused Prime Minister Thomas Thabane of interfering with the independence of the judiciary after he asked President of the Court of Appeal (PCA) Justice Michael Ramodibedi to resign.
Speaking at a media briefing at a local hotel on Friday, DC deputy leader Monyane Moleleki said the party is “totally opposed” to the Thabane’s decision.
The bulk of the criticism to Thabane however came from Popane Lebesa, the party’s shadow trade minister, who was reading from a statement.
“As the DC, we’re totally opposed to this attempt by the PM. In fact, we spit on it because what the PM is doing is direct violation of the Constitution of Lesotho,” Lebesa said.
“We therefore wish to express our disdain at this act and advise the PM to withdraw his abominable order and consult with the law if he’s not content with the performance of the PCA.”
“When the PM instructed the PCA to resign, what law did he consult? What does he have to say about the Constitution of Lesotho? You will recall that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land,” Lebesa said.
He said the Constitution was clear that the government is made up of the legislature, judiciary and the executive which are independent from each other.
“If the PM seemingly does not recognize these principles, what does he expect to become of the rule of law in Lesotho?”
“This act by the PM infringes on democracy and the rule of law and indicates dictatorship which is very unfortunate indeed.” He said the Prime Minister should align himself with the Constitution.
Also present were DC women’s league president Pontšo Sekatle, former law and constitutional affairs principal secretary and the party’s MP for the Mohale’s Hoek constituency Retšelisitsoe Masenyetse and the party’s alliance partner in parliament, Basotho Batho Democratic Party (BBDP) represented by the leader Geremane Ramathebane.
“Courts of law are where people seek legal recourse when their rights are being infringed upon,” Masenyetse said.
“The Constitution states that it is the responsibility of government to defend and protect the integrity and independence of the courts, to champion people’s aspirations,” Masenyetse said.