MASERU — Basotho National Party (BNP)’s firebrand Majara Molapo wants acting party leader Thesele ’Maseribane and members of his national executive committee jailed for contempt of court.
In papers filed at the High Court on August 31 Molapo, who aspires to lead the former ruling party, says ’Maseribane and his committee members should be “committed to jail” for failing to organise the party’s elective conference as ordered by a June 23 judgment.
In that judgment Justice ’Maseforo Mahase ordered the BNP’s executive committee to organise the conference within 60 days.
This was after Molapo had challenged the legality of the April 25 – 27 conference that saw the election of ’Maseribane as BNP leader to replace Metsing Lekhanya who was booted out last December after 11 tumultuous years in power.
Molapo was one of the seven candidates who were contesting for the party’s leadership position but pulled out of the race days before the conference.
He then filed an urgent application with the High Court seeking to block the conference.
His application was heard on the day the conference was happening.
The court ruled that since the conference was already in progress it must be allowed to proceed.
It however indicated that Molapo could still challenge its legality.
And when he did the court ruled in his favour and declared the conference “irregular, null and void”.
That ruling nullified the election of ’Maseribane and his committee.
Justice Mahase then ordered that the committee organise another elective conference within 60 days.
According to that ruling the BNP executive committee was supposed to have held the new conference on or before August 27.
When that did not happen Molapo filed a notice to lodge a contempt of court application against ’Maseribane and his committee on August 31.
The application was supposed to be heard on Monday this week where the executive was expected to argue against it.
But the committee’s legal team told the court that they had not been served with Molapo’s papers on time and asked for a postponement.
A bitter Molapo later told the Lesotho Times that the committee had sought a postponement “because they want to buy time”.
“It is a lie that they were not served with papers in advance. It was a delaying tactic on their part and a ploy to buy time,” Molapo said.
“I have been reliably told that the plan by the executive committee was to delay the process for as long as it takes.”
When asked to produce evidence that there was a plot to delay the case Molapo said he had been told by one of ’Maseribane’s advisers that this was the committee’s strategy.
“I’m the one being prejudiced here.
It’s not them on the receiving end. I’m frustrated. But I can assure you that they can run but they cannot hide forever,” he said.
Molapo said to put pressure on the executive committee he is now planning to make sure that the hearing date “falls within the month of September”.
Molapo’s legal team had no choice but to serve the executive with new papers.
Ranthomeng Matete, the BNP secretary-general and third respondent, confirmed on Tuesday that the committee had received Molapo’s papers on Monday.
“Yes, we were served on Monday and immediately took the papers to our lawyer, Mr Kananelo Mosito. We have applied for an intention to oppose,” Matete said.
“It is a long process which is yet to go through several stages.”
He dismissed Molapo’s allegations that the postponement was the committee’s ploy to delay the court case.
“We were only served yesterday (Monday) at 11:45 a.m. We had no reason to pretend we had not received the papers. There’s no need for delaying tactics,” Matete said.