MASERU — Two senior members of the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) have urged the High Court to allow them to participate in a case in which five members want to block the party’s special conference.
The chairperson for the Machache constituency committee, Maboella Lebabo, and the chairperson for the LCD youth league national executive committee, Thuso Litjobo, want the High Court to allow them to be added as respondents in a case seeking to stop the party’s special conference.
Lebabo and Litjobo’s lawyer Advocate Kananelo Mosito on Friday told the court that his clients had a right to intervene in the case to defend their interests.
Addressing a packed courtroom, Mosito said the duo should be permitted to intervene as co-respondents in the case.
“The two applicants are not only card-carrying members of the LCD.
“They are office bearers as well as decision-makers at the leadership conference which resolved that a special conference be held. It is their decision which is being challenged here.
“In the circumstances they have a direct and substantial interest in the outcome of this case as decision-makers,” Mosito said.
He rejected the argument that their interests were represented by the national executive committee.
“They have their personal interests to protect.
“All we are saying is that they should be allowed to intervene in the proceedings so that they could present their side of the story because they have a direct interest in the outcome of this application,” he said.
The respondents’ lawyer Advocate Sakoane Sakoane said the court should not allow the duo to be joined in the proceedings.
Advocates Sakoane and Zwelakhe Mda are representing the five LCD members who are seeking to block the special conference.
Sakoane said the duo, by virtue of being members of the LCD, have surrendered their interests to the LCD’s national executive committee.
“It must be found that it is a misconception that individuals have personal capacity to defend their interests when the party is there to do so.
“Therefore they cannot come to court and seek to represent their interests. This is not a case where parties before this court are ordinary members.
“LCD is an entity that can sue or be sued in its own name. The applicants (Lebabo and Litjobo) have no business to be suing because LCD has the capacity to sue,” Sakoane said.
He added: “These are the people who have surrendered their right to be sued to the LCD. Being part of the mother body they have no right to sue.”
High Court judge Justice Nthomeng Majara said she would deliver judgment on Tuesday.
“I am going to take time to consider this matter. I will deliver judgment on the 15th of February,” she said.
Justice Majara’s judgment will determine if the duo will be part of the proceedings in which five LCD members want to block the special conference.
A stormy leadership conference last November resolved that the party should call a special conference on March 19 to deal with petitions from 26 constituencies.
The constituencies are not happy with the LCD’s national executive committee and want it disbanded.
Only Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and his deputy Lesao Lehohla should be spared, the petitioners said.
But matters took a fresh twist last week when the five LCD members approached the High Court in a bid to stop the conference.
The five — Mafa Thibeli, Ramoshe Maumo, Rammapane Maleke, Tsoanelo Ramakeoane and Teboho Sekata — say the conference should not be held because it would be in violation of the LCD constitution.
The LCD’s national executive committee, LCD’s leadership conference and the LCD have been cited as the respondents.
They say the LCD constitution does not provide for the exclusion of other members of a committee if a no-confidence motion is to be raised against the executive committee.
They also argue the LCD’s leadership conference, which resolved that the special conference should be called, erred.
The case will be argued on February 28.
Some cabinet ministers were also present in court on Friday.
They included the Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation ‘Mathabiso Lepono, Health Minister Mphu Ramatlapeng and Home Affairs Assistant Minister Lineo Molise.