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RFP in yet another messy fight



MASERU – WITH just a week away from a key election, the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) is finding itself locked in yet another messy court battle after two of its members dragged the party to court.

The two this week filed an urgent application in the High Court challenging the party’s decision to push them out as candidates for next Friday’s election.

Mochaka Monku from the Moselinyane constituency, and Ntang Lesefa from Motete, have asked the High Court to declare the decision by the RFP leader Sam Matekane to replace them with those who lost in primary election unlawful.

The courts have already ruled in favour of 21 candidates who found themselves sidelined by the RFP leadership.

Should the court rule in the two’s favour, that would bring to 23 the number of the RFP members who would have successfully challenged the party over the issue of election candidates.

The two told the High Court in their papers that they were not aware of their rights until after the 16 dissenters won their case in the High Court earlier this month.

Despite winning the primary election, Monku was replaced by Tommy Tayob, a Mosotho man of Indian descent, while Lesefa was replaced by Katleho Masuoane.

Monku and Lesefa, through their lawyer Advocate Fusi Sehapi, told the court that they “are suitable and (were the) democratically elected candidates of the RFP for 2022 general elections”.

They want the court to interdict the party and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) from holding Tayob and Masuoane as candidates for Moselinyane and Motete constituencies.

They also want the court to prevent Tayob and Masuoane from standing in the constituencies under the RFP flag for the October 7 poll.

The two told the court that they joined the RFP when it was founded and were later nominated on July 10 as candidates for the party in the two constituencies for the 2022 general election.

Lesefa said he was competing in the primaries under the RFP flag against Molete Ramohomane who obtained 40 votes, Katleho Masuoane who obtained 29 votes, ’Mamosoati Mokhachane who obtained 13 votes and others who obtained insignificant votes, irrelevant to these proceedings.

“I appeared meritorious having obtained 48 votes, consequently I am the duly nominated candidate for the Motete constituency N0.3 under the RFP flag,” Lesefa said in his founding affidavit.

He said Monku stood for the internal elections for the Moselinyane constituency on the same date.

“He appeared meritorious with 38 votes, Matasane Bulane with 14 votes and Khiba Mohoanyane with 12 votes”, he said.

He stated that the party then arbitrarily substituted their names with the names of Tayob and Masuoane in similar circumstances with the 21 candidates who won a case against the RFP earlier this month.

Lesefa said the court judgment in the case of the 16 RFP objectors is applicable and beneficial not only to the immediate parties but to them as well.

“We verily state that these judgments are readily ascertainable and within this court’s judicial notice,” he said.
Lesefa referred the court to the facts and circumstances of these cases.

Lesefa said he and Monku had orally and in writing objected to their substitutions but all was to no avail.

He said they never acquiesced or waived their right to challenge the party’s conduct.

“On contrary we never knew our legal rights, until the judgment of Banyana J in the CIV/APN/0283/2022 was released, hence we are not estopped from suing,” he said.

Lesefa said the party’s decision “does not only violate our political rights but also violates our rights to a sense of self-worth, an example can be dignity which is an absolute right”.

The High Court in Maseru yesterday said it had no jurisdiction to hear the matter but its northern division does.
Advocate Sehapi moved the case to Tšifa-li-Mali High Court, which has jurisdiction to hear cases in the northern part of the country.

Moselinyane and Motete constituencies are in Leribe district.

Meanwhile, the RFP said it will recruit workers in the public service based on merit not political affiliation.

Consoling the winners who had not been handpicked, the party promised to deploy them in government where it would feel they fitted most.

After those who won in primaries challenged the party in court and won, the RFP has now promised to deploy those it had handpicked but were thrown out by the courts into government offices.

The party’s deputy leader, Nthomeng Majara, told a press conference yesterday that they will not throw away the handpicked candidates.

“We will find them positions in the government because they do have good qualities,” Majara said.

When thepost put it to the party that it was promoting cadre deployment in the civil service, contrary to what it preaches, it responded that people will apply for jobs.

Tlohang Sekhamane, one of the bigwigs in the RFP, said “jobs will be given on merit”.

Tholoana Lesenya

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