THE venue for the Basotho National Party’s (BNP) elective conference has been changed from the BNP Centre in Maseru to Ladybrand Municipality Hall in South Africa to enable exiled party leader Thesele ‘Maseribane to attend.
According to BNP spokesperson Machesetsa Mofomobe the conference would be held from 10 to 12 June 2016, with the party choosing a new National Executive Committee (NEC).
Chief ‘Maseribane fled Lesotho on 13 May 2015 claiming he had been reliably informed some Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) members were allegedly planning to kill him. The LDF has since denied these claims.
Mr Mofomobe said Chief ‘Maseribane and other NEC members were unlikely to lose their positions after most of their challengers left the BNP to form the Democratic Party of Lesotho (DPL) early this month.
“DPL leader Limpho Tau was challenging Joang Molapo for the deputy leader position, Malimatle Hlalele was challenging Dr Nthabiseng Makoae for the chairperson position, Manama Letsie for the spokesperson position and Tšepo Monethi was challenging Lesojane Leuta for the secretary-general position,” he said.
However, Mr Leuta’s chances of retaining his position hang by a thread after Chief ‘Maseribane declared last month that the BNP “does not have a secretary general”.
Mr Leuta was indefinitely suspended on 26 February 2016 for allegedly submitting a Proportional Representation list of the party’s Members of Parliament to the Independent Electoral Commission allegedly without the authority to do so. He successfully challenged the suspension in the High Court, but remains side-lined by the party’s hierarchy with Mr Mofomobe having set his sights on the SG position.
“I am eyeing the SG position even though BNP supporters have told me to stay in my current post,” said Mr Mofomobe.
He said there was “nothing new” about BNP members leaving as it was in “the culture” of nationalist parties to fight for power.
“It is in the culture of nationalists to fight over power and establish new political parties prior to elective conferences,” said Mr Mofomobe.
“The National Independent Party, led by Anthony Manyeli, was formed during Chief Leabua Jonathan’s government; the National Progressive Party was formed during Chief Retšelisitsoe Sekhonyana’s regime and the Basotho Democratic National Party during Major-General Metsing Lekhanya’s regime.
“So the formation of DPL did not come as a surprise because it has happened with every BNP leader since the time of the founder of this party.”
Contacted for comment yesterday, Mr Leuta said he was apprehensive about attending the elective conference outside Lesotho’s borders.
“I really don’t want to go (to the elective conference), but for the sake of BNP supporters, I might be there because I am supposed to present the SG’s annual report,” he said.
“However, I may not contest for the SG position because of personal reasons I don’t want to share with the media.”
Mr Leuta has previously claimed he was “reliably informed by authoritative intelligence” of a plot to kill him by his BNP colleagues outside Lesotho. However, Mr Mofomobe scoffed at the SG’s allegations, saying they suggested “a desperate man and attention-seeker”.