PROFESSOR Nqosa Mahao is the new deputy leader of the All Basotho Convention’s (ABC) after powering to victory at the party’s drama-filled elective conference early this week in Maseru.
Prof Mahao who has been at the helm of the National University of Lesotho (NUL) polled 671 votes to beat his nearest challenger, Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro who garnered 524 votes.
Others who took part in the much-hyped contest were the former incumbent, Public Works and Transport minister Prince Maliehe who got 236 votes and former party chairperson, Motlohi Maliehe, who obtained a measly 89 votes.
It was a sweet victory for Prof Mahao who had an 11th hour Court of Appeal order to thank for his place among the contestants.
Upon being nominated by the ABC’s Koro-koro Constituency Committee, the academic was disqualified by the then ABC’s national executive committee (NEC).
He was disqualified on the grounds that he had not “served at the party’s branch and constituency levels for at least 24 and 36 months” respectively as required by the ABC constitution.
The Koro-Koro committee however, challenged the ABC’s decision in the High Court and lost the case on 13 January 2019.
The Koro-Koro committee subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeal and won their appeal last Friday, the very day that the ABC’s elective conference got underway.
There was also joy for Lebohang Hlaele, the Minister of Law and Constitutional Affairs who secured 618 votes to wrest the secretary general’s post from the former incumbent Samonyane Ntsekele who polled 422 votes.
Futho Hoohlo and Sello Maphalla were the other contestants for the secretary general’s post and they obtained 275 and 230 votes respectively.
Mr Hlaele will be deputised by the Minister of Health, Nkaku Kabi, who polled 428 votes to beat his nearest challenger, Mpeoa Maoshoa who obtained 346 votes.
In the chairperson’s election, Mosalemane constituency legislator, Samuel Rapapa polled 829 votes to beat Senator Kemiso Mosenene (380 votes), Defence and National Security minister, Tefo Mapesela (239 votes), Lithoteng legislator, Lehlohonolo Moramotse (71 votes) and Maliepetsana legislator Mpalipali Molefe (43 votes).
Mr Rapapa will be deputised by the Minister of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing, Chalane Phori, who garnered 468 votes to beat Tšoeu Molise (414 votes), Senoamali Phakisi (391 votes) and Sello Mooki (282 votes).
Sentle Rabale (427 votes) is the new party spokesperson. He beat Montoeli Masoetsa (431 votes), Mohoalohoalo Jane (398 votes) and Mahlohlora Moqhekoana (299 votes).
Mr Rabale will be deputised by the Minister of Social Development, Matebatso Doti, who polled 766 votes to beat Joel Mohale (510 votes) and Foreign Affairs and International Relations minister Lesego Makgothi (325 votes).
Tlali Mohapi won the treasurer’s contest after polling 345 votes to beat Likopo Mahase (318 votes), Mokherane (287 votes), Nto Moakhi (267 votes), Pinkie Manamolela (128 votes), Keketso Sello (118 votes) and Matšepo Ramakoae (117 votes).
Likhapa Masupha polled 441 votes to win the post of Secretary for taking minutes. The losing contestants were Thabo Sophonia (414 votes), Mapaseka Khesa (264 votes), Victoria Qheku (225 votes) and Nthabiseng Solouoe (211 votes).
Last night ABC leader and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane told the Lesotho Times that the election of Prof Mahao and other NEC members reflected the will of the majority of the party members.
“The elections went on very smoothly there were no problems and the outcome reflects the will of the majority. That is my opinion because the normal frictions that happen in those kinds of situations were not reported to me,” Dr Thabane said, adding, “the (national executive) committee is now there and we are making the necessary arrangements to have it confirmed,” Dr Thabane said.
Dr Majoro who lost the deputy leader’s contest to Prof Mahao posted a message on his Facebook page, congratulating the latter for winning the contest.
“Having been part of the conference and having observed the NEC election, I hereby wish to congratulate my rival in the election Pro. Nqosa Mahao for winning the deputy leader position. I called him yesterday to register my congratulatory sentiments.
“I did this to accept the provisional result of the NEC election without reservations, understanding that there will be adjustments afterwards. We must remember that what binds us is bigger than what can separate us. We all want a better Lesotho,” Dr Majoro said.
Mr Mapesela also told this publication that losing the chairship “doesn’t mean the end and at the end of the day these were ABC elections and we are all winners”.
“I would like to urge those who won to accelerate and take the party to greater heights. I congratulate them and promise to give them back up whenever they need it. I believe it is not their victory but our victory as a party,” Mr Mapesela said.
Sello Maphalla who lost the secretary general contest said, “winning and losing are all a part of democracy and I would like to congratulate Hlaele who beat me and I wish him all the luck and promise to give him all the support he needs”.
Thabo Sofonea who was beaten in the contest for the secretary for taking minutes, said he was happy every faction is represented in the new NEC.