DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) supporters, who attended the party’s rally in Maputsoe in Leribe this week, embarrassed their deputy secretary general Tlohang Sekhamane when they booed him while he was introducing himself.
Some analysts said if the booing was indicative of general dissatisfaction with Mr Sekhamane among the party’s rank and file, then it spelt a bad omen for his bid to succeed Dr Mosisili.
Party chairperson Motlalentoa Letsosa had asked Mr Sekhamane to introduce himself, along with other national executive committee (NEC) members present, when the supporters jeered him.
The heckling started when Mr Sekhamane received the microphone from Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) committee member Sethunya Sekoqo, who attended the rally as a guest. As he attempted to speak, some of the supporters started shouting “sit down, we don’t trust you”. “We don’t like you!”
The heckling continued until Mr Letsosa called the supporters to order.
Mr Sekhamane then labored through his introduction while the majority of the NEC members looked down before he handed the microphone to the deputy leader Mathibeli Mokhothu, his rival in the DC elective conference scheduled for 25 to 27 January this year.
In a classic case of contrasting fortunes, Mr Mokhothu was met with cheering and chanting. He was even presented and draped with a Linare blanket for “having stood by ntate (Pakalitha) Mosisili during difficult times”.
Dr Mosisili, who is bowing out as party leader, was presented with a sheep and a Basotho hat.
Efforts to get a comment from Mr Sekhamane were fruitless as his phone was unavailable.
National University of Lesotho (NUL) Associate Professor Motlamelle Kapa described Sekhamane’s heckling as a clear sign that his chances of making it in the elections were slim.
“If things only remained subtle it could be difficult to tell but with things so obvious his chances of making it in the elections are quite slim. We will only have to wait until then,” said Prof Kapa.
He said Dr Mosisili was leaving a divided party but this was not unique to the DC. He said instead of uniting their followers, local politicians in some instances even sponsor divisions.
“This is not just about the followers but it also speaks volumes about the leadership in that it has failed to foster unity among its people. The leader is leaving his party divided and this shows that there are problems in leadership and not just maybe in this particular party but we see this trending even in other parties.
“These are signs that Sekhamane might not make it in the race. If party leaders fail to unify their followers what more about unifying the country and its people? Divisions are bad for any relationship and don’t yield progress in any way,” Prof Kapa said.
Director of the Development for Peace Education (DPE) and political analyst Sofonea Shale said it was clear that those who heckled Mr Sekhamane were not in his camp.
“They could have chosen to do so to convey their discontent over the way he campaigns as there are those who believe that his jabs are below the belt.
“Logically it is an expression of discontent with him,” he said.
Mr Shale nevertheless cautioned about reading too much into the jeering saying voting at the elective conference would be a preserve of invited delegates.
“I don’t think we can read anything in that, because voting is done by those who have been delegated to do so, who are also vulnerable to different forms of persuasions.
“Generally booing of leaders doesn’t bring the desired results by those who do it,” Mr Shale said.