BNP court battle to resume

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MASERU — Talks to bring sanity within the troubled Basotho National Party (BNP) have collapsed paving way for a bruising court battle later this month, the Lesotho Times can reveal.

The party’s former publicity secretary Majara Molapo dragged the BNP national executive committee to court alleging the party had conducted sham elections at its national conference in March.

Majara, who withdrew from contesting for the BNP presidency, wants the election results overturned.

High Court judge Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi last month postponed the matter to May 9 to allow the two parties to thrash out their differences.

The case was however postponed to May 27.

Speaking in an interview with the Lesotho Times yesterday, BNP secretary general, Ranthomeng Matete, blamed Molapo for the collapse of the talks.

He said Molapo had failed to lay down the agenda for the talks as “the aggrieved party”.

“We expected him to come up with the agenda for the talks and we clearly communicated that to him. As the aggrieved party, we gave him the prerogative to do just that but he never got back to us,” Matete said.

Matete claimed that all Molapo said when asked for the agenda was that his legal representative, Attorney Qhalehang Letsika, would correspond with Advocate Kananelo Mosito representing the BNP executive committee “but we’re still waiting”.

“Mr Molapo told us that we would get the agenda via one Mr Letsika who happens to be the lawyer representing him,”  he said.

“Even our lawyer Advocate Kananelo Mosito has not received any correspondence from Mr Molapo’s lawyer. He will testify to that if you speak to him.”

“We are still waiting for Mr Molapo to get back to us so that we can talk and maybe avoid dragging the party to court,” Matete said.

He added that in an attempt to reach out to Molapo to rethink his stance, the party sent out a delegation of senior party members to appeal to his conscience about washing the BNP laundry in public.

“All I can tell you is that the end results were negative. The delegation failed to reach out to him. The officials came back with nothing,” Matete said.

“It was not because we were afraid to go to court that we sent those senior party officials to talk to him. We just hate seeing the BNP dragged to court. We believe in talks.”    

However, when contacted for comment yesterday, Molapo was singing a different tune.

He said the possibility of negotiations between the two parties collapsed due to resistance from the BNP executive committee.  “The talks never took off owing to resistance from the side of the executive committee,” Molapo said.

He could however not elaborate on the nature of the resistance from the BNP executive committee.

His main focus was now on working towards making his lawsuit against the BNP a success.

“There’s a lot happening right now although I cannot get into details as yet. But one thing is for sure, the case continues on May 27, having been postponed on from May 9,” Molapo said.

The BNP, which ruled Lesotho between 1970 and 1986, is now a shadow of its former self. The party has been embroiled in bitter infighting that led to the ouster of its former leader Metsing Lekhanya last December.

Lekhanya was ousted following a vote-of-no-confidence at the party’s December 2010 special conference.

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