BNP won’t recall Molapo from govt

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Pascalinah Kabi

TOURISM, Environment and Culture Minister Joang Molapo who recently lost the Basotho National Party (BNP)’s deputy leader’s post to former party spokesperson, Machesetsa Mofomobe, will not be recalled from his ministerial portfolio, the party has said.

Chief Molapo, who was the incumbent deputy, lost out to Mr Mofomobe after polling 120 votes against the latter’s 272 votes at the party’s weekend elective conference in Mazenod. Party leader Thesele Maseribane’s post was not contested at the polls.

The duo traded insults in the run-up to the polls and there had been attempts by some party members said to be loyal to Chief Molapo to stop the elections on the grounds that the party structures had not been given sufficient notice of the polls as per the party constitution.

And after the elections were finally held at the weekend, speculation became rife that the party would advise its main coalition partner, All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to demote Chief Molapo from his ministerial post to make way for Mr Mofomobe who is currently deputy minister of Home Affairs. It was also alleged that a bitter Chief Molapo was planning to ditch the BNP for the Professor Nqosa Mahao-led faction of the ABC after losing the polls.

However, party spokesperson, ‘Masetote Leshota, yesterday told the Lesotho Times that Chief Molapo would not be recalled despite losing the top party post to Mr Mofomobe. She also said that Chief Molapo assured the new BNP NEC that he would not jump ship. The BNP is one of four parties in the governing coalition along with the ABC, Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki’s Alliance of Democrats (AD) and Labour Minister Keketso Rantšo’s Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).

Ms Leshota said the party met on Tuesday and resolved not to recall Chief Molapo because “he was not deployed to government in his capacity as a deputy leader”.

Ms Leshota said the meeting was to “iron out issues” which surfaced in the run-up to the party polls, particularly between Chief Molapo and Mr Mofomobe.

“We had a peaceful election process and there were no complaints about the election results. We had a joint meeting yesterday (Tuesday) to iron out our differences especially between Morena Joang and Machesetsa because the competition between them was the toughest,” Ms Leshota said.

She then dismissed allegations that Chief Molapo would be recalled from his ministerial post, saying, “We reaffirmed our positon that he remains a full cabinet minister”.

“Chief Molapo was not deployed to that (government) position because he was a deputy leader. He was deployed because of his abilities and he remains a full cabinet minister. He told the meeting that he was not defecting to the ABC.

“He (Chief Molapo) said that he would not seek shade from any other tree except that of the BNP. He said he remains a fully committed member of the BNP – a party that he was born into and his grandfather and father were members. He assured us that he is not leaving the BNP,” Ms Leshota said.

She said that now that the elections were over, the party’s new national executive committee (NEC) would focus its energies on reviving the party so that it reclaims its former glory as the leading party in the country. The BNP ruled the country from independence until 1986 when its leader, Chief Leabua Jonathan, was deposed in a military coup.

It however, failed to reclaim its former glory when multiparty democracy was restored in 1993. It failed to win a single seat in the 2017 elections and all its five parliamentary seats are courtesy of the proportional representation system.

Chief Molapo and Mr Mofomobe were not reachable on their mobile phones for comment yesterday.

Full list of the BNP NEC: Thesele Maseribane (leader), Machesetsa Mofomobe (deputy leader), Botha Lephema (chairperson), Sam Makatse (deputy chairperson), Tšepo Lethobane (secretary general), Moeketsi Hanyane (deputy secretary general), Dr Nthabiseng Makoae (treasurer), Keletso Mphoso (deputy treasurer), ‘Masetote Leshota (spokesperson), Matsoso Tsoaeli (national organiser) and Mamoshoeshoe Molapo, Mosokotso Lephele, ‘Masekone Matlosa and Letlafuoa Molapo (members).

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