THE opposition Democratic Congress (DC) was this week dealt another blow when its legislator for the Qacha’s Nek constituency, Pontšo ‘Matumelo Sekatle, defected to the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC).
Dr Sekatle was unveiled along with 20 other former DC members as the newest members of the ABC at the party’s rally in Peka, Leribe.
Her latest move ends speculation that had been mounting over her likely defection to join her husband, Semano Sekatle, who also ditched the DC last December and was immediately rewarded with a ministerial appointment by the ABC leader and Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane.
Dr Sekatle was escorted to the podium by the fractious ABC’s spokesperson for the outgoing national executive committee (NEC), Tefo Mapesela, as well as the ‘Maliepetsana legislator, Mpalipali Molefe.
Dr Thabane heartily welcomed Dr Sekatle and other defectors.
She expressed her gratitude to the ABC for the “warm welcome”.
“This is not the first time we are defecting. We have defected before from the BCP (Basotho Congress Party) and the LCD (Lesotho Congress for Democracy). I am grateful to the ABC’s Qacha’s Nek 69 committee that has come with us to present us to you all.
“I also extend my heartfelt gratitude to my companions who have defected with me from the DC. These are grown up women who do not play around with serious issues,” Dr Sekatle said in her brief speech.
Dr Sekatle’s defection came as no surprise. Last month, her former party told the Lesotho Times’ sister Sunday Express publication that she had automatically expelled herself from the DC by siding with legislators from the governing coalition during a parliamentary vote on the time that should be allocated to the portfolio committees to scrutinise the 2019/20 budget estimates.
She voted with the governing bloc to pass a motion that allowed the portfolio committees five days to scrutinise the 2019/20 budget estimates. This was contrary to the opposition’s position which was that the five days should be rejected on the grounds that they were not sufficient for the portfolio committees to fully scrutinise the budget.
Thereafter, the DC spokesperson, Serialong Qoo, told the Sunday Express that the Qacha’s Nek legislator went against her party and she was fully aware of the consequences of her actions which meant her automatic expulsion from the opposition party.
“She (Dr Sekatle) knows very well that she ceased to be a member and legislator of the DC from that day (12 March), Mr Qoo said, adding, “She is no longer welcome to attend any caucuses, meetings and conferences of the party”.
Mr Qoo said Dr Sekatle had in fact stopped attending DC meetings, rallies and conferences immediately after resigning from her position as the party’s Women’s League President last December.
This was the same time that her husband, former DC secretary general Semano Sekatle dumped the party to join the ABC. Mr Sekatle was immediately rewarded by Dr Thabane with an appointment as the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture.
He has since been reshuffled to the Ministry of Public Service. It remains to be seen whether or not Dr Sekatle, a former Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs minister in former DC leader and former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s government will also be rewarded with a ministerial post after her defection to the ABC.