MASERU –– Pitso Maisa, the interim youth president of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, will have to battle it out with Libe Moremoholo at the youth league’s conference on Saturday if he wants to be elected the substantive president.
It’s a battle of two people who all claim they are qualified to lead the party’s youth.
This is the first youth election the party is holding since its formation in October 2006.
The conference will be held at Lakeside Hotel.
Maisa took the reins on a temporary basis after the expulsion of the then interim president Qamaka Nts’ene from the party.
Nts’ene has since defected to Senkatana, a party made up of leaders who were once in the ABC.
He is the spokesperson.
Maisa and Moremoholo say they are both prepared for the challenge.
The contest is still quite civil and no one seems prepared to throw the first punch.
They both say there is mutual respect between them.
“I cannot say Libe is my equal, he may have more strength than I have,” Maisa says.
“However, I am the one who taught him politics. He learnt from me things he should do and should not do in the political party committees.”
Maisa says he is not someone who is scared of competition.
“In fact I am ready for it.”
But he insists that the game will be won on numbers and the ABC youth will have the final say.
“If they will elect Libe it will still be okay with me,” he says.
Moremoholo says he is “leaving it to the youth league to decide who they want” between him and Maisa.
“It is up to the ABC youths to decide who they want to be the president. They are the ones who have power.
“If I am given that responsibility I will follow the party decisions and make sure we abide by its laws. That will be a real challenge for me but it will not be a new thing altogether because I have always worked with the youth in the Lesotho Youth Federation.”
And then they start politicking. Maisa said some of the achievements of the interim committee included mobilising support for the party and encouraging more youths to join the ABC.
“Through our constituency youth committees we have managed to get more youths to join ABC. Youths are thirsty for change and transformation and they see the ABC as the key to that dream. That is why the majority of ABC followers are youth.”
Maisa said his political background and long interaction with youths “put me in a good stead to regard myself as an ideal candidate for the youth league presidency”.
“I have been in politics from time immemorial and I have spent my political career interacting with the youth. I have a healthy and in-depth knowledge of politics and believe I can steer the ABC youth league in the right direction,” Maisa said.
Maisa says the competition for the presidency was likely to be stiff but he is up for the challenge.
“It would not be worth it if there was no competition.”
Maisa is currently the MP for Motimposo (30) constituency.
Moremoholo says people who want him to contest the presidency are those who have seen me in action and recognised his leadership skills.
He is confident he has what it takes to defeat Maisa.
“I have also worked for the European Union (EU) Micro Project under the Ministry of Finance and Development. The purpose of the project was community organisation. I travelled a lot and interacted with youth nationwide,” Moremoholo says.
“I became active in the congress movement politics from secondary school but always refused to occupy portfolios due to my interest in other projects.”
Moremoholo says he held key positions in various non-governmental organisations like the Lesotho Young Christian Students and the Lesotho Youth Federation.
He was the deputy president of the Lesotho Youth Federation and went on to become its president when he succeeded Sofonea Shale in 2000.
He has also served as the SRC president at the Lesotho College of Education (LCE), formerly NTTC in 2001.
Moremoholo says he has always been active in politics but has “refrained from seeking the spotlight”.
He says he is prepared to accept defeat if the vote on Saturday does not go his way.
“My primary mandate as a young politician is to see to it that there is unity among ABC youth.
“ABC youth should be united and ensure that they participate in politics. They should fiercely participate in voting and contesting for elections at grass-roots level,” Moremoholo says.
He is the MP for Likhetlane constituency (16).
Maisa said he was not aware of the other candidates contesting for youth positions.
“There is no provision for a formal contesting and as a result we do not have a list of contestants,” Maisa says.
“We have seen such lists splitting some parties. We don’t want our party to go the same route.”
“Contestants will be nominated at the voting hall where they will be seconded and if more than one person is nominated for a position there will be a poll.”