DC leagues defect to Moleleki

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Billy Ntaote

THE Democratic Congress (DC) has effectively split after the party’s women’s and youth leagues defected to former deputy leader Monyane Moleleki, who also jumped ship this week and intends to form a new political party.

The split is a culmination of a long drawn out turf war between DC leader Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and Mr Moleleki. The feud came to a head last Friday when the High Court endorsed the premier’s suspension of Mr Moleleki and nine other DC National Executive Committee (NEC) members.

The court ruling gave Dr Mosisili carte blanche to finish off his vanquished political foe and DC NEC members supporting him by extending their suspension in party activities for six years during a special conference held over the weekend.

Dr Mosisili had convened the special conference to deal with Mr Moleleki and NEC members aligned to his Lirurubele (butterflies) faction who had pulled out of the seven-party governing coalition without the party leader’s consent. The NEC also suspended Dr Mosisili and appointed Mr Moleleki as acting leader.

Mr Moleleki had gone on to ink a coalition agreement with the tripartite opposition bloc to oust the incumbent government without Dr Mosisili’s input.

Under the pact with the All Basotho Convention, Basotho National Party and Reformed Congress of Lesotho, Mr Moleleki would head the coalition for the first 18 months in the event they form government.

However, Dr Mosisili did not take the challenge lying down, and he also suspended Mr Moleleki and the nine NEC members whom he labelled as rebels.

With the court ruling in his favour, Dr Mosisili was able to convene the special conference which appointed new leaders aligned to his faction.

The special conference replaced Mr Moleleki as deputy leader with Sports Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu, Secretary-General Ralechate ’Mokose with Lebakeng constituency legislator Semano Sekatle, Chairperson ’Maboiketlo Maliehe was replaced by Education Minister Motlalentoa Letsosa, while Finance Minister Tlohang Sekhamane replaced Refiloe Litjobo as deputy secretary-general.

With the differences between Lirurubele and Lithope (girlfriends) — which is aligned to Dr Mosisili — seemingly irreconcilable after the tumultuous events of the weekend, it was only a matter of when and not if the split would occur.

On Monday, Mr Moleleki announced during a press conference held at his Maseru home he was leaving the DC “with a heavy heart” to form a “populist centrist political party”.

Mr Moleleki said he decided to jump ship to be able to contest in the local government elections scheduled for late February or early March 2017. Mr Moleleki said while he had appealed the High Court decision to endorse his suspension in the Court of Appeal he could not wait for their ruling. The Court of Appeal is expected to reconvene next April.

However, he said the name, colours and symbols of the party would be decided “in due course”, calling on “like-minded people” to join his movement.

The DC’s women’s and youth leagues yesterday followed suit, and announced during a joint press conference they had issued resignation letters to Mr Sekatle who took over from Mr ‘Mokose.

Among the women’s league members who announced their defection to Mr Moleleki are: Deputy President ‘Maphoka Motuboli, Treasurer Malitlallo Majara, Deputy Secretary Limakatso Mokoka, Deputy Chairperson Maletsoela Moima, Deputy Spokesperson Mathabo Moremoholo as well as members Mabuoang Totomana and Matseko Mafantiri.

The youth league members are: President Thuso Litjobo, Secretary-General Letuka Chafotsa, Treasurer ‘Mamolope Nomo, Chairperson Lekhotla Matsaba, Deputy Secretary Tlotliso Monaheng, Spokesperson Maliehe Lemphane, Members are Tlalane Mapota and Tlhabeli Mojapela.

Mr Letuka said they decided to leave the DC and defect to Mr Moleleki due to Dr Mosisili’s “maladministration of the party and government”.  He also accused the premier of nepotism, fuelling infighting in the DC and circumventing party structures.

“We were shocked to see how much of a tyrant Ntate Mosisili was when he defied party structures and decisions of the NEC,” he said.

“This past weekend we saw him take away our constitutional powers to facilitate the party conferences and he appointed his own committee that will oversee the conference of the party. We decided to leave the party and join Ntate Moleleki in his decision to form a new political party as he has always shown his appreciation of our contribution to the party and given us a chance to be heard as the youths.”

Mr Letuka also accused Dr Mosisili of “embracing corrupt public officials” at the expense of the country’s interests.

“He (Dr Mosisili) decided to appoint Minister of Sports Mathibeli Mokhothu as his deputy even though he was found guilty by a court of law of theft and corruption,” Mr Letuka charged.

“He has also been hiring his close family members showing how far he can go to embrace nepotism in government. He also hires his cronies in government without considering their qualifications.”

Mr Letuka said they decided to join Mr Moleleki to avoid Dr Mosisili “who promotes infighting in the party”.

He said since Dr Mosisili’s ascend to the leadership of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) in 1998, splits had been the order of the day in the party until the premier defected to form the DC in 2012 “only to cause further infighting and splits”.

This was echoed by Mr Litjobo who said people who only knew Dr Mosisili from afar “didn’t realise how much of a tyrant he is who believes in the divide and rule notion”.

“He (Dr Mosisili) has failed to hide his personal interest in the infighting that rocked the party and ended up taking sides when he was supposed to be the unifying factor among us. He is skilled at dividing the nation more than anything else,” said Mr Litjobo.

“From the day this youth league was elected, he could not hide his abhorrence of us as he went ahead to appoint other youths he preferred working with instead of us. He used those youths to oppose the youth league,” said Mr Litjobo.

For her part, Ms Motuboli said she was leaving the DC with a “very heavy heart” as she had expected to die a member of the party.

“However, I cannot stay in a party whose leader dose not embrace democratic values. Ntate Mosisili has been fuelling DC infighting instead of quelling the feuds and uniting the party,” she said.

Repeated efforts to contact Mr Mokhothu and DC spokesperson Serioling Qoo were fruitless at the time of going to print.

 

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