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High Court blocks LCD conference

Tefo Tefo

MASERU – The High Court on Thursday blocked a special conference of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party which was scheduled for this weekend.

Justice Nthomeng Majara said the conference which had been called by the LCD was unconstitutional.

The judge dismissed the application with costs.

Five senior party members had applied to the court seeking an order to declare the special conference unconstitutional.

The conference was meant to discuss and pass resolutions on petitions by 26 constituencies that want the national executive committee disbanded.

The constituencies had however called for party leader Pakalitha Mosisili and his deputy Lesao Lehohla to be spared.

In her judgment on Thursday, Justice Majara said the applicants had a right to challenge the constitutionality of the special conference.

“I am of the view that the submission that the applicants do not have locus standi because they are not office bearers is flawed,” Justice Majara said.

“The applicants have established their legal rights because they have indicated that they have an obligation to uphold the constitution of the party.”

She added: “I find that the applicants herein have locus standi to bring this application.”

The judge also dismissed the LCD lawyers’ argument that the applicants had failed to meet the requirements of law to seek the order to declare the special conference unconstitutional.

“I am persuaded that due to the circumstances of this case the applicants have satisfied the requirements of the relief sought,” Justice Majara said.

She upheld the applicants’ argument that the agenda of the special conference seemed to “cut the umbilical cord” between the leader of the party and the rest of the executive committee members because the agenda is to discuss the motion of no confidence in the NEC, excluding Mosisili and Lehohla.

This was unconstitutional in terms of the LCD constitution because the duo was part of the NEC, the judge said.

“The national executive committee is composed of the leader as the chairman and without the leader the committee is not complete.

“The appointment of the national executive committee is made by members of the party at the conference and the unlawful removal of the committee can prejudice the members who had elected it,” Justice Majara said.

In an affidavit deposed with the court, Lehohla had argued that the special conference was not unconstitutional because it did not seek to oust some members of the executive committee but only to discuss the motion.

“Discussing lack of confidence in some members of the national executive committee is different from passing a motion of no confidence to some members of the national executive committee,” Lehohla said in his affidavit.

But Justice Majara said a special conference is an emergency meeting that cannot be convened to merely ventilate views without passing a resolution.

The LCD leadership conference last November resolved to call a special conference to discuss a motion of no confidence in some members of the national executive committee.

But five LCD members – Mafa Thibeli, Ramoshe Maumo, Rammapane Maleke, T?oanelo Ramakeoane and Teboho Sekata – last month filed an urgent application at the High Court calling upon the court to declare the March 19 special conference unconstitutional.

The five argued the special conference, which would have seen the LCD’s secretary general Mothetjoa Metsing ousted, should be declared unlawful.

They argued that the proposed special conference’s agenda was contrary to the provisions of the LCD constitution.

They said it was unconstitutional to raise a vote of no confidence against some members of the executive committee while excluding Mosisili and Lehohla.

Metsing, his deputy Lebohang Nts’inyi, party chairperson Thabang Pheko and his deputy Mohlabi Tsekoa, are some of the members of the LCD national executive committee.

Others who would have faced the chop are LCD publicity secretary Khotso Matla and the party newspaper Mololi’s editor, Motloheloa Phooko.

Metsing, Tsekoa, Phooko and Matla are government ministers.

The application is seen as part of a fierce power struggle within the LCD as factions seek to position themselves to take over the leadership of the party.

Metsing and Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki are said to be leading two factions that are seeking to wrestle control and take over from Mosisili.

Metsing and Moleleki have however denied allegations that they were leading any factions.

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