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COLEPE’s court bid flops


March 28, 2022

Ntsoaki Motaung and Seabata Mahao

The Coalition of Lesotho Public Employees (COLEPE)’s bid to have a court intervention in their quest to petition Speaker of the National Assembly, Leader of House and the Prime Minister on their salary-increment plunged after no service could be provided since there were no judges while there was also no electricity.

The petition was set for today after permission was granted by the Minister of Police Lepota Sekola on Thursday on a meeting he had with Members of COLEPE.

This comes after COLEPE had shown intention to drag the Ministry to court after they had been denied permission by Maseru Central Police. 

This following Lesotho Mounted Police Service Maseru Urban District letter denying COLEPE permission to hold demonstration.

The Letter from Maseru Central said, COLEPE’s letter to request for permit bore reference to the speech by the Prime Minister which was general and not specific on the areas to be permitted hence it was followed by the promulgation of the law.

“With regard to the gatherings such as political gathering, those are permitted by the law. Your letter has failed to come up with any law in Lesotho on Maseru City Council’s letter does not take your case anywhere,” the letter said.

Lesotho Mounted Police Service as law enforcement agency, one of their duties is to ensure that laws of the country are observed.

In terms of Regulation 2 of the Public Health Covid-19 Risk Determination and Mitigation Measure No. 5 Amendment demonstrations are not permitted.

Lesotho Mounted Police Service Maseru Urban District said based on the Regulations 2, request for permit was refused for being in contravention of the mentioned provision of the law.

COLEPE had then noted the underlining objectives behind Regulation 2 of the Public Health (COVID – 19) (Risk and Determination and Mitigation Measures) (No. 5) (Amendment of Schedule) Regulation 2022.

The letter says “We wish to bring to your attention that the desired demonstration is urgent in as much as the Parliament will soon deliberate on the matter considering that the budget has already been made public.”

“To buttress our contention, it is apposite to direct your good office to the official speech of the Prime Minister made on the 25″ day of January 2022 whereat he sand that it was “smoothly opened’. in that speech, there is no point in which he said that the demonstration we seek is prohibited.”

“The speech must have played a role in enabling the Maseru City Council to issue us with the desired permit herein attached for your reference. Maseru City Council will have been aware of the said speech and other gathering of a similar nature. The gathering that come to mind is Moshoeshoe walk, multiple political rallies which have taken place and those that are underway. Some of these gatherings were indoors which poses even more risk as far as the covid-19 pandemic is concerned.”

“Our humble submission is that our demonstration poses less danger as it’s merely to submit a letter and it is outdoors with all COVID 19 protocols observed. The duration of the said demonstration is relatively shorter than those mentioned in the above paragraph. Dominant among placards on that day will be messages on COVIO 19.”

In light of the above, denial of the permit would only be discriminatory and would offend the constitution as its purpose would be seen as protecting the employer from hearing the demands of the employees.

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