DC blasts former secretary general Sekatle

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…says its former secretary general is an opportunist who joined the ABC for self-enrichment

Pascalinah Kabi

THE Democratic Congress (DC) has launched a blistering attack on its former secretary general, Semano Sekatle, calling him “an opportunist whose family will stop at nothing to line its pockets with state resources”.

The DC also said that Mr Sekatle jumped ship after realising that he did not stand a chance of being re-elected into the party’s national executive committee (NEC) at the DC’s elective conference next month.

The attack follows Mr Sekatle’s defection to the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) where he was immediately rewarded with an appointment to the cabinet on Monday.

Mr Sekatle was on Monday sworn-in as the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture, filling the vacancy that was created by the sacking of ABC chairperson, Motlohi Maliehe, in August this year.

Mr Sekatle is the member of parliament for the Lebakeng constituency and he received the second highest votes in last year’s national elections. Only Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who stood in the Ha Abia constituency, had more votes than him.

Mr Sekatle, who held different cabinet portfolios in the previous government led by the outgoing DC leader, Pakalitha Mosisili, is the third high-profile DC member to dump the party to join one of the parties in the ruling coalition.

Development Planning Minister Tlohelang Aumane and Deputy Minister of Education Mothepu Mahapa left the DC last year to join Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki’s Alliance of Democrats (AD).

Immediately after being sworn-in at the Royal Palace in Maseru on Monday, Mr Sekatle announced that he had ditched the DC to join Dr Thabane’s ABC.

He said his decision was prompted by the “fact that the DC’s national executive committee (NEC) had made his stay in the party a living hell”.

“The DC especially the NEC, made my stay in the party a living hell. That made me realise that they didn’t need me in the party and as soon as the National Assembly reopens, I will cross the floor from the DC to ABC,” Mr Sekatle said.

He said that he chose to join the ABC because “its leader (Dr Thabane) approached him and pulled him out of the hellhole that the DC members were digging for him”.

He however, said he would not have crossed over to the ABC if the premier had not offered him a ministerial position. He explained that crossing the floor without a cabinet position would not have benefitted him in anyway as he would have remained a backbencher.

“I would still be a backbencher whose role is to ask questions but now that I am a minister, I will be answering questions instead of asking them,” Mr Sekatle said.

But the DC this week refuted its erstwhile secretary general’s claims that he had been ill-treated by the party.

DC chairperson Motlalentoa Letsosa said that it was malicious of Mr Sekatle to claim that that he was ill-treated by the DC and challenged him to “be honest with himself and the entire Basotho nation”.

Mr Letsosa said as far they were concerned, “the relations between Ntate Sekatle and the DC were exceptionally good and he is not telling the truth”.

“We have done everything in our power to find out if he was ill-treated and we found nothing. Had he told us that he was being mistreated, we could have done something about it but it is our suspicion that he jumped ship after realising that he didn’t stand a chance to be re-elected into the DC’s NEC.

“I suspect that he foresaw his fate that he was going to lose and decided to leave.

“He says that he was mistreated by the party but conveniently chooses not to explain how he was mistreated. We will never get the real answers why he left. He is an ABC member now but we can only speculate, based on his interview after the swearing-in, that the real truth is that he left the party is because of the ministerial position.

“He said he would not have crossed the floor had he not been promised the ministerial post. He wanted to be a minister. He is an opportunist who has crossed to the ABC for money. The Sekatle family loves money more than anything and he crossed to the ABC for money and nothing else because he knows very well that ABC members don’t love the Sekatle family, they hate them so much that to the ABC the Sekatles are like a bad odour no one can tolerate,” Mr Letsosa said.

Efforts to obtain from the ABC were unsuccessful as secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele’s phone was unreachable while that of party spokesperson Tefo Mapesela rang unanswered.

Mr Letsosa however, conceded that Mr Sekatle’s crossing to the ABC, coupled with the departures of Messrs Aumane and Mahapa to the AD, would negatively affect the DC.

He said they would work to ensure that after Mr Sekatle and his family, there would be no more DC members jumping ship.

But the DC’s efforts could prove too little and too late as the party’s former youth league president, Fusi Ramantai, told the Lesotho Times that he and other DC youths have already followed in Mr Sekatle’s footsteps to join the ABC.

Mr Ramantai was previously linked to the camp of DC deputy secretary Tlohang Sekhamane who is set to battle with deputy leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, for the leader’s post at the party’s elective conference next month.

One DC faction known as Liphakoe is said to have thrown its weight behind Mr Mokhothu in his quest to succeed Dr Mosisili. Mr Mokhothu is the official leader of the opposition in parliament and he is the member of parliament for the Qhoali #68 constituency. The other faction, known as Melele, is said to favour Mr Sekhamane. Mr Sekhamane is a former finance minister and former member of parliament for the Mokhotlong #79 constituency.

Mr Ramantai told this publication that many more DC youths would soon be joining the ABC.

“Negotiations are at an advanced stage with other members of the (DC) party to join the ABC. I can tell you that it’s not a few but huge numbers are behind Ntate Sekatle and we are going to the ABC to support him,” Mr Ramantai said.

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