MASERU – The High Court has rejected an attempt by two members of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party to be included as respondents in a court application seeking to block the party’s special conference set for March 29.
The court ruled on Tuesday that Machache constituency committee chairperson Maboella Lebabo and LCD youth league committee chairperson Thuso Litjobo had no legal right to be enjoined in the court application.
The two had approached the court seeking to be enjoined to the application filed by five party members on the grounds that they had an interest in the application that is seeking to block the special conference whose main agenda is to decide the fate of the party’s national executive committee.
In their application the five cited the national executive committee, the leadership conference and the party itself.
Their argument is that the special conference should be stopped because it would allegedly violate the party’s constitution.
In their application Lebabo and Litjobo had argued through their lawyer last Friday that the application by the five should also cite them as respondents because they had an interest in the outcome of the case.
High Court judge Justice Nthomeng Majara however rejected their arguments.
“The applicants (Lebabo and Litjobo) herein have not established their locus standi to be joined in the main application.
“A point in limine was well taken and as a result the application is dismissed with costs,” Justice Majara said.
The judge said the two had failed to convince the court that the outcome of the application by the five members would prejudice them.
She said if she agreed to Lebabo and Litjobo’s application more LCD members would use the precedence to file court applications seeking to be enjoined in the case as well.
That situation, Justice Majara added, would frustrate court proceedings.
“In my view this would create a judicial and logistical nightmare.”
Advocate Sakoane Sakoane, who is representing the five members, had argued in court last Friday that Lebabo and Litjobo could not sue in their personal capacities because they are members of the party.
Sakoane had submitted that by virtue of being members of the LCD, Lebabo and Litjobo had surrendered their rights to the party.
He said there is no need for the two to seek to be joined to the application because their interests would be represented by the executive committee of the party.
“The LCD is a registered party under the law and it can sue or be sued in its name. And it does so through the national executive committee,” he argued.
Advocate Kananelo Mosito, who represented Lebabo and Litjobo, had argued that his clients had a right to defend their interests even if they are individual members of the party.
“The two applicants are not only card carrying members of the LCD. They are the office bearers as well as decision-makers at the leadership conference which resolved that a special conference be held. It is their decision which is being challenged here,” Mosito said.
“In the circumstances they have a direct and substantial interest in the outcome of this case if they are the decision makers.”
But Justice Majara rejected Mosito’s argument on grounds that the two had failed to establish their legal interest in the case.
Justice Majara however said he believed that Lebabo and Litjobo’s “rights are not legal but political”.
Ramakeoane and Teboho Sekata, say the November leadership conference erred when it resolved that the executive committee should organise a special conference to discuss the ouster of some members of the executive committee.
Their case will be heard on February 28.