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Whitehorse withdraws poll challenge

 

Tefo Tefo

THE Constitutional Court on Friday allowed the Whitehorse Party to withdraw its application seeking the postponement of the 28 February general elections by three months.

The party filed the application last month and had wanted the polls moved to 30 May 2015 to allow its leaders time to go through the voters’ roll.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Director of Elections, the Minister of Law, Human Rights and Constitutional Affairs, Attorney General and 22 political parties registered for the snap election, were cited as respondents in the case.

However, the party, led by businessman Mohau ‘Whitehorse’ Thakaso, later indicated its intention to withdraw the case “in the interest of the public”, while the respondents wanted the case totally dismissed to ensure it would not be resuscitated at a later stage.

On Friday, the court allowed the party to withdraw the case, but slapped it with costs of the suit.

The court also ordered Mr Thakaso to withdraw by Tuesday this week, damning statements he made in his affidavit in support of the case. Mr Thakaso had said the polls were predetermined and holding them was simply to legitimise the process.

Meanwhile, in the application filed on 28 January, Whitehorse also wanted the IEC to explain why it was “refusing, neglecting or failing” to provide the party with information regarding the voters’ roll.
The party also sought to have the theft of IEC computers in October last year, declared a violation of its right to participate in government in terms of Section 20 of the Lesotho Constitution.

Whitehorse further sought an order compelling the IEC to supply it with the voters’ roll free of charge.

The party further requested the establishment of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry under the auspices of the State Council to probe the theft of the 21 IEC computers, some of which contained data pertaining to the forthcoming polls.

The Whitehorse also wanted the court to nullify Proportional Representation (PR) seat lists the IEC was given by 21 political parties on the grounds they were submitted after the 21 January 2015 deadline.

Advocate Letuka Molati represented Whitehorse Party in the case, while the defence team comprised of King’s Counsel Salemane Phafane, Motiea Teele, Karabo Mohau, Attorney Thulo Mahlakeng and Advocate Lekobane.

Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara, Justices Tšeliso Monaphathi and Semapo Peete presided over the case.

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