Argues High Court is turned into forensic firm
MASERU – Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane says asking the High Court to investigate the party’s missing funds would be turning it into a forensic firm auditing finances of a political party.
Instead, he says the issue (missing funds) should be referred to a special conference so as to be deliberated by scores of BNP members. This he said in response to allegations by party members who have taken him to court over an alleged breach of the party’s constitution and maladministration.
The members allege mismanagement of funds under his leadership and want him to vacate office. They have asked the court to order that ‘Maseribane’s tenure as leader of BNP ended on March 26 2021.
They claim that Maseribane has been in office from March 27 2011, a claim he dismisses saying he was elected to the position on June 12, 2015, in Ladybrand, Free State.
In their court papers, the seven applicants have alleged that 10 Million in rental fees has disappeared.
They also claim that criminal investigations are set to resume around the matter and are of the opinion that party’s funds should in the meantime, be protected from further mismanagement.
“I submit that there is a ten million Maloti (M10 000 000) of rent which has dissipated. I submit that even in the chambers of the judge who presided over the litigation that involved the foregoing mentioned ten million Maloti property of rent, the documents have been plucked out from the file in order to ensure that the monetary record do not exist. I submit that the foregoing issue is yet to be criminally investigated amongst other remedies,” ‘Mota Nkuautsana said.
He has deposed to an affidavit on behalf of other complainants and said by approaching the court along with his co applicants, they are protecting their rights and that of other members of BNP.
His co-applicants are Moorosi Moshoeshoe, Emmanuel ‘Mako, Lesiamo Molapo, Mochai Mochai, Motobo ‘Mabathoana and Michael Mohasi.
They have raised a list of other complaints such as the correctness of the March 10 circular which announced June 12, 2021, as an end to ‘Maseribane’s tenure.
They argued that the circular did not follow procedure outlined in the party’s constitution and want it reviewed, corrected and set aside by the court. They said it lacked contents such as the fact that the leaders’ post is vacant.
Also the said circular is said to have lacked names of members of the NEC who are due to present reports on the general affairs of the party and the financial reports at a conference in observance of the enshrined 90 days’ period per BNP’s constitution.
In his answering affidavit, ‘Maseribane says it is unfortunate that a circular calling for an elective conference in June was understood to be extending his tenure in office despite the fact that his tenure remains valid. The contentions that his term ended in March he argues are speculative and misdirection on part of those who claim so.
He says the nature of complaints raised in the application can be solved at the party’s conference including but not limited to the correctness of the March 10 circular that they are complaining about.
“The applicants will be entitled to raise all manner of objections in the conference as the supreme body at the conference. They will be afforded an opportunity to make representations over reports which will be presented at the conference.”
‘Maseribane says no complaining member of the party will have deprived or swayed from representing grievances at the conference. According to him, the complaints raised are ineffectual and a proper platform for their resolution is the conference.
On the contrary, he sees the application as an attack at the management of the party. “This present case characterizes an embodiment of subtlety and sophistry means aimed at attacking the management of BNP,” he argues.
‘Maseribane also tells the court that plans are at an advanced stage for holding of an elective conference and warns that the application before court might cause a postponement. He says it was brought in bad faith in a bid to frustrate the NEC from performing a regulatory in the conduct of elections.
He maintains that he remains a legitimate leader of the party until June this year and says complaints raised will be addressed by the conference as per party’s the constitution.
He has been at the helm of BNP since 2011 and 2021 should be his last term according to their constitution. There are allegations that he is lobbying members to amend the constitution in order to allow him to run for the third term but he denies the allegations.
“The constitution of our party does not provide for a leader running for a third time in a row. I have no intentions to violate the constitution of the party and taint my integrity by running for elections again in violation of the constitution which I protected and upheld for over four decades of my active politics in BNP.”