THE main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) will hold an elective conference to choose a new national executive committee (NEC) at the end of January 2023.
The tenure of the current NEC expires in January next year. Party leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu’s post will not be contested as his six-year term only expires in 2025. However, all other posts including that of deputy leader and former Home Affairs minister, Motlalentoa Letsosa, are up for grabs.
The imminent polls are likely to be a hotly contested affair and some of the bigwigs could fall by the wayside if the three preliminary nomination lists of candidates seen by the Lesotho Times this week are anything to go by.
Mr Letsosa’s name appears on only one of the three nomination lists while the relatively unknown Lebohang Monaheng’s name features on two lists as one of his challengers. According to some DC insiders, the number of times one’s name features on the nomination lists in indicative of a candidate’s popularity. However, this may not always translate into electoral success, the insiders said.
Current spokesperson, Serialong Qoo, and secretary-general, Tsitso Cheba, each feature on one nomination list while treasurer and proportional representation (PR) legislator, Hlalele Letšaba, appears on two lists, an indication that he could retain his post.
Current youth league president, Moeketsi Shale, has been nominated for the post of deputy chairperson while Hloahloeng legislator, Katleho Mabeleng, has been nominated for the posts of deputy secretary general and spokesperson.
Several female politicians have also been nominated. These include former Education and Training minister, ‘Mamookho Phiri, who has been nominated for the post of secretary-general. One Nokhaya Sekoloko has been nominated for the chairpersonship; ‘Mapakalitha Pakela for deputy secretary-general; PR legislator ‘Maoshoa Mpeoa for deputy-chairperson; and Lobe Mohale for deputy spokesperson.
Former Gender, Youth, Sport, and Recreation minister, Likeleli Tampane, and former Education and Training deputy minister, ‘Malenkoane Letsoepa, have been nominated to be ordinary members of the NEC along with prominent businessman and DC financier, Bothata Mahlala.
The conference will be held against the background of the DC’s disappointing showing at the 7 October 2022 general elections where it won only 18 seats out of 79 constituencies. It was awarded a further 11 PR seats taking its final tally to 29. Even with the seats, the former ruling party was a distant second to new Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s Revolution for Prosperity which won a landslide 56 out of 79 seats. This despite that the RFP was only formed in March this year.
Mr Mokhothu this week told the Lesotho Times that the elective conference offered the party an opportunity for renewal.
“My expectation is that the DC will be renewed after the elective conference. The members of the DC will be electing the leadership they want, and the party should emerge from such a conference rejuvenated, energised, and united. We will be more focused and ready to serve our people while also growing the party,” Mr Mokhothu said.