7.5 C
Maseru
July 17, 2024
LAW & CRIME

MAHAO EMPHASISES NEED FOR INTERVENTION BY COURT

Maseru, July 24 — Professor Nqosa Leuta Mahao has in his founding affidavit accompanying an application challenging fitness of the commissioners of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to hold office, emphasised that the court needs to intervene and force public administration bodies to perform their constitutional and statutory obligation.  

At least five political parties comprising Basotho Action Party (BAP), Democratic Congress (DC), All Basotho Convention (ABC), Basotho National Party  (BNP) and Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) have instituted a constitutional case against the Council of State, His Majesty the King, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, the IEC, Speaker of the National Assembly, President of the Senate and the Attorney General among others. 

The commissioners whom the applicants are complaining about in the matter are Mphasa Mokhochane, Dr. Karabo Mokobocho-Mohlakoana together with Tsoeu Petlane have been cited in as 5th, 6th and 7th respondents respectively. 

In his capacity as leader of the BAP which is the first applicant in the matter, stated that the issue of incompetence of the commissioners together with failure by the institution to attend to its statutory obligations calls for prompt and urgent intervention. He emphasised that the case must be prioritised in the court’s roll as it touches on core ethos and values of a fully functional state. He emphasised that failure by the IEC to live up to its name bears the potential of attracting dire consequences. 

Prof. Mahao indicated that the IEC was in breach of its constitutional obligation espoused in section 66A (1) (a) which dictates that it embarks in the process of ensuring that local government elections are held. He indicated that no formal explanation has been given by the IEC adding that the issues go to the root of the foundation of the society. 

He pointed out that the IEC in the past elections failed to compile a general register of electors and constituency register of electors for the benefit of competing parties. He added that it further failed to supervise and control the registration of electors by issuing the voters lists belatedly and to the prejudice of competing political parties. 

The BAP leader pointed out that the incompetence of the commissioners had been revealed when the IEC lost a case in which DC challenged irregular and or illegal constituency delimitation of various geographical areas in the country in anticipation of elections and in line with the constitutional obligations. He stated that there is also a case which was instituted by the IEC seeking self-review. He said the IEC admittedly miscalculated the Proportional Representation Seats in line with the statutory obligations conferred by section 104 of the National Assembly Electoral Act. He emphasised that it was a breach of its constitutional role. 

He pointed out that the Council of State is unwilling to react to calls for intervention which have been made to them through several correspondences. 

The applicants are in the matter asking that it be declared that failure to address, deliberate and or adjudicate over the complaints lodged by any of the applicants and or cause for recommendation of an establishment of a Tribunal to probe the fitness of the IEC Commissioners was and is unconstitutional. 

They further ask that the Council of State, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Speaker of the National Assembly and President of Senate be directed to cause for the procedure in the conduct of affairs of Council of State and or its meetings pursuant to section 95 (11) of the Constitution of Lesotho 1993 (as amended) read with Council of State Act n0.5 of 1994. 

The case is set to be moved before the court on Thursday this week. 

Ends 

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