…tell the truth and don’t mislead the nation, Prof Mahao tells former ABC chair
PROFESSOR Nqosa Mahao says the All Basotho Convention (ABC’s) former chairperson Motlohi Maliehe’s is wrong to attack the Court of Appeal president, Justice Kananelo Mosito, over the latter’s 1 February 2019 verdict which allowed Prof Mahao to contest the deputy leader’s post at the ABC’s recent elective conference.
Prof Mahao said instead of attacking judges and misleading the nation leaders like Mr Maliehe had a duty to inform the people, “tell them the truth and not to mislead the nation”.
Prof Mahao said this while addressing a recent well-attended ABC rally in the Lithabaneng constituency.
His comments were made against the background of recent remarks by Mr Maliehe to the effect that Justice Mosito’s verdict which overturned Prof Mahao’s disqualification from contesting the ABC’s national executive committee (NEC) elections undermined the party constitution and resulted in the ongoing power struggle within the ruling party.
Prof Mahao only contested because of an 11th hour Court of Appeal order by Justice Mosito to thank for securing his place among the contestants.
Upon being nominated by the ABC’s Koro-Koro Constituency Committee, Prof Mahao was disqualified by the then ABC’s NEC.
He was disqualified on the grounds that he had not “served at the party’s branch and constituency levels for at least 24 and 36 months” respectively as required by the ABC constitution.
The Koro-Koro committee, however challenged the ABC’s decision in the High Court and lost the case on 13 January 2019.
It subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeal who referred the case back to the High Court. Acting Chief Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase threw out the Koro-Koro committee’s appeal.
The Koro-Koro committee then appealed to the Court of Appeal again and I February, the apex court bench led by its president, Kananelo Mosito and Acting Justices of Appeal, Phillip Musonda and Moses Chinhengo upheld the Koro-Koro committee’s appeal.
This paved the way for Prof Mahao’s last minute inclusion in the contest which he eventually won ahead of more seasoned ABC politicians like Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro, Public Works and Transport minister Prince Maliehe and Mr Motlohi Maliehe.
It appears Mr Maliehe did not take kindly to the Court of Appeal verdict which allowed Prof Mahao to contest.
The outspoken former ABC chairperson told a recent party rally in his Butha-Buthe constituency that Justice Mosito was wrong to overturn the party’s decisions to expel Prof Mahao from taking it to court over his disqualification.
He said the court ruling was the reason why the ABC had been rocked by the infighting which is threatening to split the party and even collapse the government.
Prof Mahao and his colleagues have not been able to assume office due to resistance from the old NEC as well as the court challenge by three ABC legislators Habofanoe Lehana (Khafung), Keketso Sello (Hlotse) and Mohapi Mohapinyane (Rothe).
This power struggle, in Mr Maliehe’s opinion could have been avoided if the Court of Appeal had not struck down provisions in the ABC constitution which allowed the party to expel people like Prof Mahao to court before exhausting internal procedures for the settlement of grievances.
“We have a constitution which is very clear on which procedures to follow before one can take party matters to the courts of laws but Ntate Mosito in the highest court in the country which is the appeal court says our constitution is drunk,” Mr Maliehe told his supporters.
“I will make a simple example about simple things such as our own burial societies here in our villages which have their own terms. The terms may say that one becomes a full member after paying subscriptions for at least three months and in the event of death before that, you don’t qualify for the benefits.
“But Ntate Mosito’s judgment says even before one can qualify for the benefits of full membership, he should get the full benefits.
He said it was this kind of judgement that end up causing this havoc within the ABC and the ongoing chaotic power struggle in the ruling party could have been avoided had Justice Mosito ruled otherwise.
“It is this judgement that has caused this chaos (infighting) and all these things that are happening now in the ABC,” Mr Maliehe said.
However, this did not go down well with Prof Mahao who subsequently called on Mr Maliehe to familiarise himself with the operations of the law so that he could speak correctly and accurately to those who looked up to him for leadership.
“I have heard that there is audio clip where one of my leaders (Mr Maliehe) is saying the party problems were caused by Court of Appeal President (Justice Mosito). People must have understanding so that they can lead the nation with clear minds. Comrades, the English say the ‘law is not an ass (sic) and it is not something that anyone can toy around with’.
“The law is not a donkey which one can ride it whichever way they like,” Prof Mahao said.
“The (ABC) constitution was destroyed by us as the ABC and not by the courts of law because we have been riding it as we liked in different directions. The role of a leader is not to mislead the nation but to give it the truth to empower it,” Prof Mahao said.
It remains to be seen if at all Prof Mahao and his colleagues will eventually assume office as the new ABC NEC.
Everything hinges on the outcome of the ongoing negotiations between the new NEC and the old NEC. On Wednesday, Justice Mahase gave the two sides until 19 May 2019 to resolve their differences.
Justice Mahase also ordered that if the negotiations collapse or fail by 19 March 2019, then the matter shall be heard in court on 20 March 2019 at 9:30am and judgement will be delivered on 29 March 2019.