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ABC in a dilemma

…as Ministers and MP want fresh election and Mahao victory nullified

THUSO MOSABALA

A clique of disgruntled losers in the All Basotho Convention (ABC) national executive committee elections that resulted in the victory of Professor Nqosa Mahao and his followers’ to the helm of the party today petitioned High Court to nullify the results.

This last-throw-of-the-dice-effort to dislodge Professor Mahao’s ‘believed’ coup in the ABC is led by Habofanoe Lehana the Khafung constituency legislator cited as the first applicant, the Hlotse constituency legislator and mining minister Keketso Sello and Mohapinyane Mohapi from the Rothe constituency cited as second and third applicants respectively.

Professor Mahao’s labelled ‘a newcomer’ by detractors in the ABC, had to fight to the bitter end to qualify to contest in the ABC national executive committee elections and finally participated and won the election with his group of new party vision champions.

But, today the trio, Lehana, Sello, and Mohapinyane want the court to interdict the ABC from confirming its incoming national executive committee elected during its recent February 1-2 elective conference held in Maseru at the Lehakoe Recreational Centre.

They also want the court to ban the ABC outgoing national executive committee from handing over properties of the party to the incoming national executive committee pending finalisation of their petition before court.

The three musketeers argue that the purported newly elected members of the ABC National Executive Committee should be banned from assuming the administration of the party.

They also want the party elections that were riddled with a lot of controversy and court antics declared null and void and the party and its outgoing leadership be ordered to prepare for and hold a fresh election within a period of three months of finalization of this matter.

The ABC, ABC outgoing National Executive Committee, the Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations are cited in the court papers as the first, second and third respondents and 41 other respondents who were participating in these election that the trio want nullified.

The court bid comes as the dispute between ABC incoming national executive committee and its successor simmer over what is the plausible time for handover of party reigns.

Last week, the MNN Centre for Investigative Journalism learned that the ABC stalemate had degenerated to outgoing Secretary General Samonyane Ntsekele announcing that the elective conference had not yet ended and shall reconvene for a handover of power to his successors when an election petition by Mohapinyane against the poll had been dealt with or disposed of.

The Centre saw a copy of the said election petition by Mohapinyane in which he claimed the elections were fraught with irregularities that disenfranchised him.

The Centre learned that Mohapinyane filed the said petition upon realising that a faction in the party vying for party leadership has a majority of its slate candidates losing the  Mahao’s slate.

 Mahao was only allowed to officially contest in the election after a vicious court battle that ended with the clemency of the Court of Appeal after the outgoing national executive committee had banned him and his Koro-koro Constituency committee which had nominated his name from taking party in the party conference.

Today, on the same date the trio petitioned the High Court to nullify the elections, Ntsekele’s assertions that the elective conference has not yet ended were buttressed by a rear letter by ABC leader Thomas Thabane to party structures.

Thabane’s leter to party structures

Thabane said the conference only got disbanded due to its contravening the public meetings and processions act provisions that resulted in police expelling his party members from the place where the conference was held.

Thabane also noted Mohapinyane’s petition had been received and its being dealt with and only when disposed of the conference shall re-convene and a handover shall be done and he would officially close the conference.

While the party’s outgoing leadership purports to be dealing with the petition by Mohapinyane, the petitioner today joined by Lehana and Sello escalated the challenge to the High Court.

Among reasons for the petition, the trio argue that “there are patent errors committed during the recent ABC elective conference that render the elective result suspect. The total number of votes received for any given portfolio is higher than the total number of delegates that were registered to vote.

“On the basis of the aforementioned flowed election result, the purported new members of ABC National Executive Committee are due to assume power at any moment from now. It is in our interest, the interest of justice and the ABC that these irregularities be considered before a new National Executive Committee can assume power”.

The musketeers further issue a stern warning that “there is a high likelihood of chaos and or bloodshed ensuing at the headquarters of 1st respondent (ABC) with de facto 2nd Respondent (Outgoing national executive committee) and the purported recently elected members (incoming national executive committee) trying or varying to take and or remain in control of the said offices of 1st respondent”.

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