The Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) of Lesotho, Hon. Mothejoa Metsing has this morning before the SADC commission of inquiries into the murder of Lesotho Defence Force commander Lt. Gen Mahao, argued that any legal notice passed with ulterior motive is null and void, and should be ignored.
Metsing was justifying as to why he did not seek court’s intervention regarding the prorogation of the parliament by the former Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane last year.
The DPM, who told the commission that he was not a lawyer defined the concept of the rule of law as respect for the law and that; “Where the rule of law is respected, the very person that initiate[s]legal process must follow the law itself. You cannot be a law unto yourself and expect others to behave otherwise.” He said adding that; “The honours here rest with the authorities.”
Judge Phumaphi brought to Metsing’s attention that the commission was faced with a situation where there were two interpretations.
“Some feel the way feel that when you hold a view that due process has not been observed in reaching the final decision that ultimately finds its way into a Gazette as a publication of legal situation you can ignore that publication or Gazette whatever.
“The other view is that,” Phumaphi continued, “it (Gazette) remains law until it is set aside by court of law.”
Phumaphi then asked Metsing as to who was ultimate arbiter to say who was right if there was a conflict of interpretation and Metsing, who argued that he was not finished with his presentation as the context was important for one to understand his stand, replied that; “The courts are the ones”.
Metsing argued he was providing background to a range of issues for the commission to appreciate the context.
“You know there are people who will definitely make those mistakes and you find that it was his honest and genuine interpretation of the situation. But there is somebody who does things with impunity from the onset embarking on a process of really defying the rules. That’s where you have a difference and the context here you will is not an ordinary situation whereby somebody, in his office in normal cause of events is making mistakes. No!” so said Metsing.
Judge Phumaphi further asked Metsing that; “Are you saying even if you feel that this person is driven by ulterior motive to do what he is doing, you can just sit back and ignore him?”
Metsing replied that there were those things that one has to take a stand as say no, given the fact that they were illegal.
Phumaphi insisted and put it to Metsing that; “If you see a publication in a Gazetta that affects you and you think there is something wrong about it, the best thing is to rush to the court and say please sat aside this, then you are operating within the law.
“But if you decide that I will just ignore it, you see the other person who is got an opposing interest might decide that this man is ignoring this, will it proper for him to say now I will what ever might I have to coheres him to comply? Is that not opening room for self-help when courts are there?”
The commission continues and Metsing was still testifying.