DC MP Leeto dies

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Ntsebeng Motsoeli

THE Democratic Congress (DC)’s Kolo constituency legislator, Putsoane Leeto, died on Sunday evening after a short illness.

Although the official cause of his death has not been revealed, the party’s secretary general, Tšitso Cheba, told the Lesotho Times that his family suspected pneumonia due to his history as a mine worker in neighbouring South Africa.

According to Mr Cheba, the now deceased MP developed flu-like symptoms on Saturday. He was treated at a clinic and given medication for flu before being discharged.

However, his condition deteriorated and he was taken to the nearby Mafeteng Hospital before being referred to Mohale’s Hoek on Sunday. He died that evening between 9 and 10 pm.

“His family tells us that Ntate Leeto died on the same day that he was admitted to hospital,” Mr Cheba said this week.

“His was a really short illness. We are all shocked by his sudden passing. He was checked for Covid-19 and cleared. It is suspected that he died of pneumonia due to his history as a mine worker.”

Mr Cheba bemoaned the passing of Mr Leeto, saying the MP who was elected into parliament at the 2017 general elections was a hard worker who had immensely contributed to the success of the party.

“Even though he (Mr Leeto) was not part of the national executive committee, he was resourceful and made a significant contribution to the party.

“He volunteered his vehicles to transport supporters to rallies.

“He was trustworthy and served without any reservations or complaints. He contributed financially to the party whenever it was necessary.”

Mr Cheba said the loss of Mr Leeto had dented the DC’s numbers at a critical time when numbers were needed to sustain the DC’s coalition with the All Basotho Convention (ABC). The ABC and DC currently have a joint 76 legislators after the ABC lost two MPs who defected to the opposition Alliance of Democrats (AD) last month.

The governing coalition also enjoys the support of smaller parties like the Movement for Economic Change (six MPs), Basotho National Party (five), Popular Front for Democracy (three) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (one).  But its numbers are not guaranteed because of the persistent infighting in the ABC.  If a sizeable number of MPs still loyal to Mr Thabane decides to sabotage the coalition, then it needs every possible legislator to sustain itself.

With the death of Mr Leeto, the DC has now lost five MPs since the 2017 elections to remain with 25 legislators.

Mothepu Mahapa (Moyeni constituency) and Tlohelang Aumane (Semena) both defected to the AD soon after the elections. They were later followed by Semano Sekatle (Lebakeng constituency) and his wife Pontšo (Qacha’s Nek) who joined the ABC in 2018.

“Four MPs defected to other parties after the 2017 elections. We were then left with 26 MPs and after Ntate Leeto’s passing, we are down to 25 MPs.

“Ntate Leeto has died at a critical time when the government is trying to manage its numbers in parliament because people are not trustworthy. You can see how our partners (ABC) in government are continuously struggling to contain their internal squabbles,” Mr Cheba said.

 

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