The high court has given the two factions fighting to control the All Basotho Convention (ABC) two weeks to reach an out of court settlement, ending the bickering that has brought party business to a virtual halt.
Acting Chief Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase yesterday ruled the court would order the parties to argue their cases on March 20 before her, if negotiations fail to end the leadership impasse.
“If the negotiations have collapsed and/or failed by March 19, 2019, then the matter shall be heard on March 20, 2019 and 9.30am and this Honourable Court shall issue and deliver judgement on 29 March 2019 at 09.30,” a court order issued last night said.
Justice Mahase’s order follows an application made by ABC bigwigs Habofanoe Lehana, Keketso Sello and Mohapi Mohapinye asking the court to set aside results of last month’s elective conference at which National University of Lesotho (NUL) Vice Chancellor Nqosa Mahao was elected deputy to leader Thomas Thabane.
Lawyers for the two sides agreed an amended version of the rule nisi issued on February 13 continue. The seven-point amendments pave way for immediate commencement of negotiations.
“The parties shall hold settlement negotiations immediately and conclude negotiations on or before 19 March 2019 and that Mr R. Makamane (Assitant registrar) mediate such negotiations.
“During the settlement negotiations the outing (National Executive Committee) NEC shall only take bare administrative decisions on behalf of the 1st Respondent.
“The outgoing NEC shall put in abeyance any anticipated disciplinary processes against…respondent and or any other member of the incoming NEC pending finalization of the present case.”
The court also gagged the feuding factions, ordering them not to address the media about party affairs excerpt when issuing a joint statement announcing commencement of the talks.
“The parties undertake to hold the negotiations in good faith and to conclude the process on or before 19 March 2019.”