… as basis document for anticipated national reforms
MASERU - Lekhotla La Thari Ents’o (Basutoland African National Congress (BANC) has filed a constitutional motion in the Lesotho High Court for orders to unsuspend the Lesotho Constitution of 1966.
The BANC contends in its court papers that the 1966 Constitution is the supreme law of the country and all other laws are subject to constitutional control.
“It is our contention that the supremacy of the 1966 Constitution of Lesotho is a founding value of the kingdom given that it is superior to everything and everyone and all authority originates from it, including the King.”
The BANC leader Tsebo Monyako and party chairman Peo Moejane have cited the minister for law and constitutional affairs, Speaker of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition, President of the Senate, Attorney-General, Law Society of Lesotho and all persons who may have interest in the matter as respondents.
The party want the court to declare that “the 1966 Constitution of Lesotho is the principal operative document for the upcoming national reforms process.”
The 1966 constitution, which saw Lesotho attain her independence, was suspended by the late Prime Minister Dr Leabua Jonathan in 1970, after seizing power and declaring the state of emergency when it became clear that the then opposition, Basutoland Congress Party (BCP), was poised to win the election.
In court papers filed and attested to by the BANC leader Mr. Monyako, and the party chairman Mr. Moejane, the BANC calls for an order declaring the suspension of the 1966 Constitution unconstitutional.
The party also calls for an order declaring an Act/ Order/Law and process leading to enactment of 1993 Constitution of Lesotho null and void.
The 1993 constitution was enacted during the military regime as a basis for the return to multi-party democracy after 16 years of one-party state and seven years of military junta.
The BANC, amongst other things, argues that the “1993 Constitution is a complete forgery of the original 1966 Constitution.”
“It lacks basic characteristics that authenticate a document, such as the statutory instrument and preamble that forms pages 1-11 of the 1966 Constitution,” the party submitted.
The BANC points out that the absence of origin and authentication in the 1993 constitution can seriously compromise some of the provisions in the 1966 Constitution that are copied into it when parliament acts to fulfil them on behalf of the Basotho nation regarding repatriation of Lesotho’s ceded territory.
Some parts of Basotho hold the view that the Free State Province of South Africa was part of Lesotho and should be part of the independent Lesotho.
The BANC states that the 1993 Constitution has proved to be a source of conflict and misinterpretation because it is a document that was made by the military government using a rubber stamp interim national assembly to only further its interests.