MASERU — The battle for leadership for the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) youth league goes to the wire this Saturday.
The nomination list shows that the number of candidates for the different positions has been streamlined from 52 to 38.
However, only nine key positions are up for grabs while the remaining four positions are for ordinary committee membership.
LCD leader Pakalitha Mosisili is expected to officially open the conference at Manthabiseng Convention Centre tomorrow evening.
Results will be released on Saturday for the new committee that will lead the youth league for the next three years.
Party insiders say the battle will be about positions as much as it is about the soul of the youth.
They say the nomination list for candidates clearly indicates the two major factions that have, for long, been speculated to be battling to control the party.
The youth elections are crucial in the manouvres of each of the factions.
Whichever faction prevails will have control of the league and have the youth support in future national executive committee elections.
At the centre of the battle are two factions.
One is understood to be led by the party secretary-general and Communications Minister Mothetjoa Metsing while the other is said to be led by the Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki.
Both Metsing and Moleleki have however repeatedly denied being members or leaders of any of the factions in the party.
Yet party insiders insist that the candidates that will contest the weekend elections are “clearly drawn along factional lines”.
Before the nominations started each faction in the youth league that represents a broader faction in the party is understood to have come up with a list of candidates.
The idea, sources say, was to pit candidates from the opposing factions against each other for each of the positions.
Meanwhile, three MPs who had been nominated to contest the elections have pulled out of the race.
Former LCD youth league president who had been recommended to contest the presidency Rethabile Marumo declined the nomination.
Marumo, who is also an MP for the Mohobollo constituency in Leribe district, led the LCD youth committee which was dissolved in October 2008 for alleged insubordination.
Marumo’s decision to pull out of the race means that the current interim committee president, Mosala Mojakisane, and secretary general Selibe Mochoboroane will fight it out for the president’s post.
“I would like to reserve my comment for now,” Marumo said when asked to give reasons for her withdrawal.
The MP for Hololo constituency, Teboho Lets’ela, who had been recommended for the league’s vice-presidency, also turned down the nomination saying he was not “ready for the responsibility”.
“Being the LCD youth league’s vice-president is a task greater that being an MP. There is still so much for me to learn about running youth committees and the like,” Lets’ela said.
“In future I just might accept nomination. Now I have to heed LCD leader Ntate Mosisili’s advice, that when you are new to certain things, take the back seat by talking less, listening more and learning in the process.”
However, National Independent Party legislator ‘Matlotliso Lebajoa, has accepted nomination to contest for the vice-presidency.
Lebajoa will have to shake off stiff opposition from Monts’o Sechaba, a youth member from the Taung constituency in Mohale’s Hoek district.
Kali Seithleko, the MP for Qeme constituency and former secretary-general of the dissolved committee, also refused nomination for the secretary-general’s post.
“But I wish to dispel rumours that I withdrew my name because I had fallen out with some people. It is not true,” Seithleko said.
“I have too many commitments. In addition to being an MP, I also feature in two of the parliamentary committees.
“It would not be easy for me to juggle those three heavy responsibilities all at once. But we have strong young men and women who can do the job just as well.”
Kali would have had to fight it out with the current vice-president, Ntsekiseng Mona.
Mona was the deputy secretary-general of the former committee who survived the chop and was made the LCD youth league’s vice-president in the May 2009 interim committee elections.
She has accepted nomination to contest for the post of secretary-general.
Mona will have to butt heads with Lebaka Bulane, who is likely to be a strong contender.
Bulane is the former chairman of the disbanded committee and is said to be itching to make the youth committee.
Rorisang Mokoena, the current youth committee chairperson, has been nominated to retain his position.
He was the deputy-chairperson of the committee that was dissolved two years ago.
He will go head to head with Thuso Litjobo who was the spokesperson of the previous committee and has accepted nomination to contest for the league’s chairmanship.