Lesotho: Mahao Challenges Withdrawal of Thabane's Court Application

Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and ABC rival Nqosa Mahao.
6 September 2019

High Court Judge Tšeliso Monapathi will on Wednesday rule in a case in which Professor Nqosa Mahao and his "expelled" ABC colleagues want the court to throw out Prime Minister Thomas Thabane's withdrawal of his 5 July 2019 application seeking an order barring them from holding a special conference as well as presenting themselves as members of the party's national executive committee (NEC). The case is among many in a pile of court cases meant to determine who takes charge of the faction riven party.

Dr Thabane and ABC deputy secretary general Nkaku Kabi filed the application before Acting Chief Justice 'Maseforo Mahase who granted them an interim order barring the Mahao camp from holding the special conference on 6 July 2019. The premier and Dr Thabane subsequently withdrew the application before the court had ruled on their request for a final order permanently barring Prof Mahao and his allies from holding the special conference and from presenting themselves as the party's new NEC since they had been "expelled" from the party by Dr Thabane.

While they did not give reasons for the withdrawal of the case, the Mahao camp believes the withdrawal was done after the Court of Appeal issued an order barring Justice Mahase from presiding over matters relating to the power struggle between Prof Mahao and Dr Thabane. Justice Mahase has been accused of doing the bidding for the Thabane faction. But Prof Mahao's side argues that the case should have been heard by a different judge anyway and hopefully give clarity to who should rightfully take charge of the ABC between the two camps. It is also challenging the withdrawal on the grounds that it did not address the issue of who pays the costs. The Mahao side wants the Thabane side to bear the costs of the withdrawal.

Lawyers for both factions canvassed their respective arguments yesterday before Judge Monapathi reserved judgment till Wednesday next week.

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