DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) Youth League member Tlhabeli Mojapela was on Saturday assaulted by fellow party members who accused him of insulting party leader, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
Mr Mojapela is a member of the Youth League National Executive committee and is also outgoing president of the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Students Representative Council.
The Lesotho Times has learnt that Mr Mojapela was assaulted with a knobkerrie on his cheek bone and his attackers continued kicking him even as he lay on the ground.
Mr Mojapela confirmed the assault was perpetrated by party members belonging to the rival Lithope (loosely translated to girlfriends) faction which is linked to Dr Mosisili. Mr Mojapela is linked to the rival Lirurubele (butterfly) faction which backs DC deputy leader and Police Minister Monyane Moleleki.
“When this happened, we were standing by one of the vehicles and singing songs that are popular with the Lirurubele faction praising our deputy leader while another group was also singing songs in praise of our leader Dr Mosisili,” Mr Mojapela said.
“I can safely assume those people were members of the faction referred to as Lithope in the party.”
He said the furore was ignited by accusations NUL students were attempting to unseat Dr Mosisili by holding a protest march against alleged government corruption on Thursday last week.
“I was walking close to them, when one of them remarked that I led a protest march aimed at unseating the party leader,” said Mr Mojapela.
“I felt insulted and responded that the march was about students’ welfare and against corruption and not intended to pursue an agenda against our leader.”
He added: “The next thing I felt was the knobkerrie hitting me and blood gushing from a wound on my cheekbone and I fell to the ground while others joined in to kick me.”
“It was a group of more than 10 people and I was rushed to Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital after sustain serious injuries.”
Mr Mojapela said even after the incident, the Lithope faction continued to accuse him of ill-discipline and insulting Dr Mosisili, a claim he denied.
He said he did not intend to press assault charges because the attackers had already been reprimanded by Mr Moleleki at the end of the conference.
Mr Mojapela said following medical treatment, he would soon be able to consume solid foods as he continued with his recovery from the blow that nearly shuttered his teeth.