Africa-Press – Lesotho. TEN Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) members have appealed to the Court of Appeal to nullify last week’s High Court judgement which nullified their and six others’ selection as party candidates in next month’s elections and installed former cabinet minister, Mahali Phamotse, and 15 others in their place.
The 10 are Phumane Mojalefa, Mantsali Yengane, Mofero Selupe, Moleboheng Sefali, Kenny Atang Ntaote, Thabang Rapapa, Koena Marabe, Jonas Mokete, Retšelisitsoe Theko and Mamello Holomo. They were sued in the High Court by Dr Phamotse and 15 others. They were sued alongside Malehanye Ralejoe, Talenta Masoatsa, Lekese Matsoso, Thabiso Lekhotla, Lebona Mphatsoe and Motho-oa-sebaka Mosenki Letsie. However, the latter six co-respondents in the High Court have elected not to appeal the decision in the apex court.
They were sued in the High Court after they had been selected as RFP candidates in an elaborate process which began with primary elections in the various constituencies and concluded with interviews by a panel chosen by the RFP’s national executive committee (NEC). The party had said the top four in the primaries in each constituency would then be subjected to the interviews to choose the final candidates on the basis of “meritocracy”.
Aggrieved by the decision, Dr Phamotse and 15 others had then approached the High Court to nullify the RFP’s decision to install the 16 as party candidates. The former ministers and her colleagues were unhappy that they had been snubbed by the party despite that they had won the primaries in their respective constituencies.
In the latest turn of events, the roles have been reversed and Dr Phamotse and her co-applicants in the High Court will become respondents in the apex court.
The Court of Appeal’s Deputy Registrar, Realeboha Makamane, yesterday said even though the apex court was not in session, it would have to quickly convene to hear the matter since it had to be finalised before the 7 October date for the national elections.
“Since the matter concerns the elections, it will be treated with urgency. An arrangement has been made for the Court of Appeal judges’ to sit virtually to hear the matter.
“However, it has not yet been allocated a hearing date because the filing of relevant papers has not been completed by the concerned parties,” Advocate Makamane said.
Besides Dr Phamotse, the other 15 who have been sued in the apex court are Teboho Notši, Sello Hakane, Malothoane Mathiba, Mabote Malefane, Khotso Motseki, Teboho Malataliana, ‘Mammako Mohale Lerata, Chopho Lekholoane, Mphelela Khaoli, Motheo Ralitapole, Matabane Mosese, Monotsi Maliehe, Makatleho Motsoasele, Mooki Sello and Tankisang Mosito.
They are cited as first to 16th respondents while the RFP NEC, the RFP and the IEC are the 17th to 19th respondents respectively.
In their apex court application, Mr Mojalefa and his nine co-applicants argue that High Court Judge Polo Banyane had erred by not ruling that they were the legitimate party candidates as directed by the RFP.
“The learned judge erred and thus committed a misdirection by not upholding the appellants’ objection to the application in particular that the first to 16th respondents acquiesced to the process in terms of which the party conducted the nomination of the candidates,” they state in their apex court papers.
Mr Mojalefa and his nine co-applicants argue that Dr Phamotse and 15 others did not file any application challenging the RFP circular which stated that the selection of candidates would be finalised through an interview process. Therefore the High Court had erred in granting the application which challenges the results but not the process, they argue.
Dr Phamotse and 15 others had a fortnight ago joined forces to launch an urgent High Court application to compel the RFP to recognise them as party candidates in the upcoming general elections.
They filed their lawsuits in the wake of a 1 September 2022 High Court judgement compelling the party to install five other RFP members as the rightful party candidates.
The five are Moloi Ralentsoe, Kobeli Rethabile Letlailana, Matlotlo Ramaboli, Tšepo Joseph Lethobane and Lejone Puseletso.
Just like Dr Phamotse and her co-applicants, the five had won the primaries in their respective constituencies only for the party to choose others to stand as candidates in a subsequent interview process which it said was designed to ensure that “meritorious” candidates were selected.
The five had then approached the High Court last month, arguing that the party had acted illegally by snubbing them despite their victories in the primaries.
Their application was heard by Judge Tšeliso Mokoko who nullified the RFP decision to snub the five. He ordered the RFP to install them as the legitimate party candidates.