The Democratic Congress Youth League has accused 13 of its members of “sowing divisions” within the party.
The league says the youths are “spreading rumours” of disharmony between party leader Pakalitha Mosisili and his deputy, Monyane Moleleki, to “create confusion” in the organisation.
According to a circular written by the league’s secretary, Letuka Chafotsa, dated 25 September 2015, the 13 members are Teboho Mothebesoane, Makhothi Mothebesoane, Mangaliso Makakole, Rethabile (surname not given), Keneuoe Palime, Lobe Moeletsi, Bokang Motokoa, Motseko Mafantiri, Masilo Thebola, Khotso Lepholi, Makeresemese Letšoara, Ramahooana Matlosa and Tau Matlakala. None of the accused hold executive positions in the League but some of them contested the August 2015 elections, which brought in a new committee led by Thuso Litjobo.
The circular reads in part: “The Youth League Executive Committee is deeply disturbed by the activities of certain members of the party who contravene procedures for entering constituencies, with the intention of sowing divisions between the leader, Dr Mosisili and his deputy, Minister Monyane Moleleki. They do so by spreading false rumours and accusations that the deputy leader, Minister Moleleki, is fighting the leader, Dr Mosisili.
“(Before the August elections) these people were deceiving party youths that if they elected Mr Litjobo as president, they would be fighting the party leader, as Mr Litjobo is fighting Dr Mosisili.
“These members, Teboho Mothebesoane, Makhothi Mothebesoane, Mangaliso Makakole, Rethabile, Keneuoe Palime, Lobe Moeletsi, Bokang Motokoa, Motseko Mafantiri, Masilo Thebola, Khotso Lepholi, Makeresemese Letšoara, Ramahooana Matlosa and Tau Matlakala, are spreading these false accusations to taint and defame many people.
“The following are some of the vehicles they used in their mission to divide the party: Vehicle registration Y4067 of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, XDM35 belonging to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, XDM37 belonging to the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Y4816 of the Ministry of Sports, a red Golf4 owned by Motseko Mafantiri of Koro-Koro constituency and a Black Toyota Noah vehicle.”
Mr Chafutsa would not shed light on what would happen to the 12 members, telling the Lesotho Times the issue was “an internal party matter” that had nothing to do with the media.
However, according to some of the youths who spoke to the Lesotho Times on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, the accusations were meant to “silence us” and ensure there is overwhelming support for Mr Moleleki at the party’s elective conference scheduled for the end of next month.
All the posts, save for that of party leader, would be up-for-grabs and whoever is elected deputy leader stands a good chance of eventually taking over from Dr Mosisili, who is also prime minister. Party insiders told the Lesotho Times that Dr Mosisili might not seek re-election when his term expires in 2018.
“There are several of us being accused of being troublemakers because when the Youth League went for elections in August, we were campaigning for Mpabaleng Motjetjepa to be president. When he lost to Thuso Litjobo, we became pariahs in the party, and we have been victimised at every turn since that election,” said one of the youths.
“We are now being accused of sowing divisions within the party and driving a wedge between Ntate Mosisili and his deputy, Ntate Moleleki. These are unfortunate accusations because the people making them fully know they are not true; the issue of divisions in the DC has been there for some time now and it has nothing to do with us. This is just an excuse to expel us from the party before next month’s elective conference. These people know that if we are not there at the conference, then the results will go in their favour and people who support Ntate Moleleki will be elected to the National Executive Committee, paving the way for him to be leader in 2018.”
The youths also accused the party leadership of not protecting them in the face of such serious accusations.
“We are concerned that we have been ordered to stop speaking on radios about our grievances, but those who want to remove Ntate Mosisili as party leader have never been reprimanded despite using social network chat groups to further their cause.
“What is also worrying is that in all the forums where our issues are supposed to be addressed, we are only insulted and never given the chance to raise our concerns,” said another disgruntled youth.
However, the party’s secretary general, Ralechate ‘Mokose, told the Lesotho Times that there were neither divisions within the DC nor an agenda to remove Dr Mosisili.
Mr ‘Mokose, who is also Water Affairs Minister, further said the party was “trying its best” to resolve grievances that arise in the run-up to such a crucial conference.
“When a party goes for such a huge task, there will always be conflict and never-ending grievances. However, what should be clear is that no party member wants to remove the leader; such claims are not only baseless but also malicious,” said Mr ‘Mokose.