MASERU — Mothetjoa Metsing, the secretary general of the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party, says the High Court application seeking to compel the party to hold a leadership conference is misdirected and based on half truths.
Metsing makes the remarks in an affidavit he filed in the LCD’s National Executive Committee (NEC)’s opposing papers.
He is responding to the court application seeking an order to compel the party to hold a leadership conference before the general conference scheduled for January 27 next year.
The application was filed by Ramahooana Matlosa, chairman of the LCD Youth League Committee in the Maseru No.32, together with Mabutse Thamae and Thabang Leroibaki, who are ordinary party members.
In papers filed a fortnight ago, the three argue that according to the party’s constitution the Metsing-led executive committee should have organised the leadership conference in October.
The respondents are the LCD, the executive committee, the LCD Women’s League and the LCD Youth League executive committee.
The trio said the executive committee had refused to organise the leadership conference.
But in his affidavit Metsing says there has “been no refusal or deliberate failure to hold the leadership conference”.
“I consequently deny that the NEC is at fault in any manner in this regard, it has acted in the best interests of the 4th respondent (LCD) all its members as required by the constitution,” he says.
Metsing, who is also the communications minister, says the NEC could not hold a leadership conference because of the local council election held on October 1.
“Consequently prior to the said date of elections the LCD structures were hard at work to ensure that victory at the polls is attained in the local government elections,” he adds.
According to the LCD secretary general the local election was a priority especially as it served as a mirror reflection of the future performance of national parliamentary elections to be held next year.
“The truth is that the NEC issued out notices or circulars for the calling of a special conference as directed by the leadership conference, but before the conference could be called a court order prevented it from being called,” Metsing says.
He accused the applicants of political grandstanding and using the High Court to score political points.
Metsing also notes that one of the applicants, Matlosa is suing in his personal capacity and has no locus standi to institute these proceedings.
“In his capacity as an ordinary member of the LCD (4th respondent) he has no right to attend the leadership conference and also has no direct and substantial interest in the holding of the conference peculiar to himself personally.
“It is specifically denied that clause of 12 (a) of the party’s constitution allows the first applicant (Matlosa) the right to litigate in his personal capacity in this case at all,” Metsing says.
He adds that the period preceding the local government poll, members of the LCD who attend the leadership conference from the structures of the local government could not do so because their membership was dissolved to prepare for the election.
“To date the new incumbents have not yet been officially installed into office following the elections, which was the case on October 11, 2011 when the applicants allege they had an expectation and even as they filed an application without any
demand or notice made to the NEC, which was totally improper.”
Metsing adds that as a consequence of the difficulties encountered, the time for the calling of the ordinary general elective conference arrived and “it was our duty to call that conference”.