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Government accepts defeat



MASERU – THE government has accepted defeat after the Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court that Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro had acted outside the constitution when he declared a state of emergency.

The Court of Appeal judgment came two weeks after the government lost the case in the High Court.

The Appeal Court upheld a judgment by the High Court that the government erred when it recalled parliament citing a state of emergency as ground to reconvene the National Assembly.

Communications Minister, Sam Rapapa, who is also the government spokesman, told a press conference on Tuesday that “all the laws that were passed by the parliament from 24 August to 19 August have been nullified”.

He said 17 laws had already been passed and out of them, 15 had already landed in King Letsie III’s office for royal assent.

It is now obvious that all the laws that were passed will be considered null and void, Rapapa said.

“We will always abide by the judgments of the courts of law,” he said.

He said the laws would not be implemented and the coming parliament, which is left with less than 30 days before it is sworn in, will take over the unfinished business.

The country is going to hold general elections on October 7.

“The forthcoming parliament will be sworn in to perform the duties left behind,” he said.

Journalist Kananelo Boloetse and Advocate Lintle Tuke had filed a constitutional case asking the High Court to nullify the national reforms laws and constitutional amendments passed by the parliament after it was recalled.

Three judges of the High Court, Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane, Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi and Justice ’Mafelile Ralebese ruled that it was illegal to recall parliament.

The judgment means the reforms are dead in the water and could only be passed by the next parliament.

Apart from rolling back or delaying the reforms, the judgment has also created important legal precedence that could help individuals to use the courts to hold the government’s public institutions to account.

It means anyone could cite public interest to sue the government or a public institution.

No longer can the government argue that a person does not have legal standing to bring a case against it.

Nkheli Liphoto

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