MASERU — A group calling itself Concerned Basotho Citizens handed a petition to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane on Friday demanding the ouster of Court of Appeal President Justice Michael Ramodibedi.
The group said Justice Ramodibedi must step down as he is responsible for the “mess” in Lesotho’s judiciary.
They also copied the petition to Law and Constitutional Affairs Minister Haae Phoofolo, Correctional Services Minister Mophato Monyake, Sports Minister Thesele ‘Maseribane as well as acting Chief Justice Ts’eliso Monaphathi.
Thabane, Phoofolo and Monyake accepted the petitions at the Government Complex where their offices are situated while ‘Maseribane’s was delivered to him at his office at the Post Office Building.
The petition was signed by Motseki Lefera, Tšele Moketa, Matšeliso Makhele, Motlalentoa Hlehlisi and Kanono Letooane, the group’s representatives.
Ululating, singing, chanting and carrying placards the ‘concerned citizens’ marched from Setsoto Stadium, joined the Main North 1 to the main circle then went through Mpilo Boulevard to Moshoeshoe I’s monument.
In the petition the group claimed Justice Ramodibedi was not executing his duties effectively for “the attainment of peace, justice and stability of Basotho”.
The group’s secretary Tšele Moketa said they found it imperative to submit their concerns to the premier in the hope that he would take action.
They also accused Justice Ramodibedi of serving his personal interests by paying himself lavishly during Court of Appeal sessions.
“Whereas the foreign judges returned some of the money because they felt the work they had done did not warrant that much, Justice Ramodibedi did not return his,” Moketa said.
The group said for these reasons Justice Ramodibedi “should be removed from office”.
In response, Thabane said the ‘concerned citizens’ did the right thing by bringing their concerns to them.
“Rather than fighting one another on the streets, you chose to come to us,” Thabane said.
“I’m grateful that you came here with these issues and I will pass them to my colleagues to see how we deal with them. Within a short period of time you will get a reply,” he said.
The group then marched to the High Court where they handed a similar petition to Acting Chief Justice Monaphathi also waiting for them.
“I’m grateful that you came. You have acted in a democratic manner, this is democracy in practice,” Monaphathi said.
“I won’t be able to comment further on the issue because Justice Ramodibedi has already filed a case in the High Court against the government,” he said.