MASERU — Six former members of the executive committee of the Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) re-joined the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party yesterday, nine years after leaving the organisation.
They defected together with 100 LPC supporters.
The six were once members of the LPC executive committee.
They were led by the former LPC general secretary, Pashu Mochesane, who said he had spent the last two years leading talks between the LCD and LPC leaderships to conclude the reconciliation agreement.
But the talks failed, Mochesane said.
Mochasane was a founding member of the LCD in 1997 and served in the executive committee until he broke away in 2001 to form the LPC together with party leader, Kelebone Maope.
They had accused the LCD of failing to respect and honour the party’s manifesto.
The former LPC deputy leader, Leketekete Ketso, an economics lecturer at the National University of Lesotho, is understood to have played an important role in the group’s move to rejoin the LCD.
Thabiso Melato and Motamolane Matiea who both held the position of treasurer in the LPC at some point, also rejoined the LCD.
’Mantsekele Moshoeshoe who served in the LPC women’s league and LPC’s Transvaal leader, Lefu Tsehlana, also announced that they had dumped the LPC at the welcoming ceremony held at the Co-operatives College in Maseru.
Addressing the ululating and chanting LCD members Mochesane, who spoke on behalf of the former LPC members said they decided to go back to the ruling party after reconciliation talks between the two parties hit a brick wall.
“I cannot blame the LPC or the LCD for the stalled negotiations but what I know, as I was part of the negotiations, is that very little was left before leaderships of the two parties could reach an agreement,” Mochesane said.
“However, I have not lost hope that the LCD leader and the LPC leader will one day find a way forward.”
Mochesane told the Lesotho Times that during the negotiations the parties had differed on the allocation of the proportional representation seats in parliament.
“The issue of PR seats became a stumbling block in the negotiations,” he said.
Mochesane also said the LPC found it hard to form alliances with other congress parties because, unlike the LCD, they did not regard the late Ntsu Mokhehle who formed both the LCD and the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) as a hero.
“These other congress parties insulted Ntate Ntsu Mokhehle in our meetings and we did not feel comfortable in their midst,” he said.
“It is only the LPC and the LCD who respect the legend as our mentor and true leader.
“Being in the company of people who disrespectfully spoke ill of Ntate Ntsu was very painful to us.”
The LPC secretary general, ’Mamoipone Piti, said they were not surprised by the latest move by Mochesane and his group because they were no longer attending party meetings after they were voted out of the committee in 2007.
“We saw it coming and we are not surprised at all,” Piti said.
“They stopped attending party meetings after they were voted out of the executive committee.”
Piti however said the defectors had hurried to rejoin the LCD while negotiations for reconciliation between the two parties were underway.
LCD general secretary Mothetjoa Metsing said the coming back of “the heavyweights” would strengthen the party.
“We know that they are not small and everybody can attest to that,” Metsing said.
“They have learnt from Ntate Ntsu like all of us and we understand that when they were away from us they did not shift away from his teachings,” he said.
“We had to part ways in anger when we did not agree on certain things but that did not mean that our political ideologies were different.”