OUTSPOKEN Basotho National Party (BNP) spokesperson Machesetsa Mofomobe has apologised to the party’s deputy leader, Chief Joang Molapo, who he recently described as an “infidel who had so much love for (Mothetjoa) Metsing and the congress parties”.
Mr Metsing is the leader of the opposition Lesotho Congress of Democracy (LCD) while the BNP is a junior partner in the governing coalition which includes Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC), Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki’s Alliance of Democrats (AD) and Labour Minister Keketso Rantšo’s Reformed Congress of Lesotho (LCD).
Mr Metsing was the Deputy Prime Minister when the BNP leader, Chief Thesele Maseribane, current Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and many others in the current governing coalition were forced into exile in 2014 and 2015. The then opposition leaders fled allegedly after receiving death threats from the then seven-party coalition which included the LCD.
Chief Molapo and Mr Mofomobe are vying for the post of the BNP’s deputy leader at the party’s elective conference to be held on a date that yet to be announced. The conference had initially been set for last weekend but it was postponed indefinitely to make way for the BNP women’s league elective conference this month.
The postponement has however, not stopped the duo from the campaigning which has lately been characterised by highly personalised vitriolic attacks against each other.
Chief Molapo, who is the current BNP deputy leader, was the first to let rip at his campaign rally in Hlotse, Leribe, describing Mr Mofomobe as an immature and unpredictable politician who was given to posturing on social media and radio instead of focusing on his responsibilities as a party official and government official. Chief Molapo said Dr Thabane was in fact “a merciful prime minister” for not having disciplined Mr Mofomobe, who is also the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, for his alleged errant behaviour.
Mr Mofomobe would not have any of this and subsequently hit back by ridiculing Chief Molapo as “an infidel” and lover of the congress parties and in particular Mr Metsing. Mr Mofomobe said Mr Metsing was a personal friend of the outgoing BNP deputy leader.
“He (Chief Molapo) is one with evil spirits hence he feels he should protect him (Mr Metsing) from any attacks,” Mr Machesetsa recently told the media. Mr Mofomobe then went a notch higher, charging that Chief Molapo should not be retained in his current position because his moral grounding was suspect as “he was brave enough to take his girlfriend for official trips instead of his wife”.
But at his campaign rally this week in Hlotse, Mr Mofomobe appeared to have cooled down as evidenced by his public apology to Chief Molapo and the BNP supporters for his earlier remarks.
“Surely you have all seen last week’s newspapers where one of the newspapers had a headline saying me and Morena Joang were undressing each other,” Mr Mofomobe told party supporters.
“I want to take this opportunity to apologise for the manner in which I approached that matter (of Chief Molapo’s verbal attack). When that journalist called me telling me what Morena Joang said about me I just lost it and I was overcome by emotions.
“We know other people’s secrets especially those who are close to us and it is not right to reveal them when things heat up. Emotions got better of me and I ended up revealing his secrets and I apologise to you (Chief Molapo) and to all the BNP supporters who I have wronged with what I said. But I also think it is good that when people campaign, they should do so with facts without telling lies about others.”
Mr Mofomobe further called on Chief Molapo to appreciate that theirs was only a contest for political office which should not affect their relationship and cause enmity between them.
“Last Friday I was so disappointed that when I attempted to shake his (Chief Molapo) hand, he refused to shake mine when we met at one of the mortuaries in Maseru where we had gone for a funeral.
“I found him (Chief Molapo) standing there with the (Motimposo legislator) Thabang Mafojane and other gentlemen. I greeted them one by one shaking their hands but when it came to Chief Molapo, he refused to shake my hand and told me that he didn’t want to. Mr Mafojane even asked us whether our conflict had come to that stage (of ignoring each other).
“What I want Morena Joang to know is that I am not his enemy. This is not a personal fight but it is the politics in our constitution which allow me to challenge him for the deputy leader’s position.”
Mr Mofomobe said he was ready to accept the outcome of the elections regardless of whether or not he won.
“I am ready to accept the results of the elections whether I win or lose. If I lose, I will travel around the country to urge the nationals (BNP supporters) to support the winner because that is how it is supposed to be. I also urge those who support me to continue to respect Morena Joang because he is still our deputy leader.
“Let’s keep the oneness in this party because even those who are in other camps are still our brothers and sisters.
“It is not the first time for us to have elections in this party except that this time around, Morena Joang has a challenger when he was previously unopposed. I noticed that he was not doing his job and decided to challenge him. This is not a fight but it’s politics. Please, let us respect those who stand with Morena Joang because after the elections we will all still be nationals and we want to see this party grow,” said Mr Mofomobe.