Ruling on Prof Mahao appeal on Tuesday
The Court of Appeal will on Tuesday this week deliver its verdict on the All Basotho Convention’s (ABC) Koro-Koro Constituency Committee’s appeal against the party’s decision to disqualify Professor Nqosa Mahao from contesting the ABC’s national executive committee (NEC) elections.
The apex court will also rule on the Koro-Koro committee’s appeal against its own suspension by the ABC’s NEC for challenging Prof Mahao’s disqualification.
Prof Mahao was nominated by the Koro-Koro committee to contest the deputy leader’s post at the ABC’s elective conference on 1 and 2 February 2019.
He was set to contest against Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro, party chairperson Motlohi Maliehe and the acting incumbent, Public Works and Transport Minister Prince Maliehe.
Whoever wins will stand in good stead to eventually succeed Prime Minister Thomas Thabane when the latter eventually bows out as both leader of his party and country.
The ABC’s NEC disqualified Prof Mahao on the grounds that he had not served in the party structures for the required 36 months to be eligible to stand in the elections.
The Koro-Koro committee challenged the ABC’s NEC decision in the High Court and lost the case on 13 January.
The committee subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeal. It is seeking an order nullifying both the decision by the ABC’s NEC to disqualify Prof Mahao as well as its own suspension by the party after it launched its spirited fight against the professor’s disqualification.
It wants the court, among other things, to “review, correct and/or set aside” the respondents’ decision to disqualify Pro Mahao from the elective conference.
Prof Mahao, Prince Maliehe, Motlohi Maliehe, Dr Majoro, the Executing Working Committee of the ABC, the ABC’s NEC and the ABC are cited as the first to seventh respondents respectively.
And on Friday, the Court of Appeal bench comprising of presiding judge Phillip Musonda and justices Charles Hungwe and Petrus Damaseb heard the two sides’ arguments and set Tuesday as the day they will deliver the verdict.
“I will deliver judgment in this matter on Tuesday,” Justice Musonda said after the marathon session which lasted from morning until the evening at 9pm.
He thanked the lawyers for the applicants and the respondents for their submissions.
Attorney Khotso Nthontho, who represented the applicants, told the court that they had no choice but to lodge the application after the ABC’s NEC replied to their demands for a special conference to discuss Prof Mahao’s suspension by suspending them.
“The (Koro-Koro) constituency committee wrote to the party (ABC) requesting a special conference and instead, the whole committee was suspended,” Attorney Nthontho said.
He said unless lifted the suspension would prevent them from participating in the elective conference on Friday.
Asked by the Justice Musonda if the Koro-Koro committee still existed, Attorney Nthontho said the committee still exists but it was rendered powerless by its suspension.
“Up to now there is still no reply to the request made by the Koro-koro committee for a meeting with the ABC’s NEC,” Attorney Nthontho said.
He said they felt compelled to approach the court for redress so that they could attend the party conference as it was only held once every five years.