Leaked recording rattles govt

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LCD Spokesperson Teboho Sekata
LCD Spokesperson Teboho Sekata

Keiso Mohloboli and Billy Ntaote

A LEAKED audio clip in which Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) spokesperson Teboho Sekata makes disparaging remarks about Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader Monyane Moleleki has rattled the parties’ alliance in government and threatens to scuttle a mulled election pact.

In the leaked recording, Mr Sekata alleges the infighting in the DC had intensified to the extent that Mr Moleleki held several secret meetings, popularly known as ‘linakeli’, with former premier and All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane in Durban, South Africa to iron out an agreement for an alliance to oust the current seven-party coalition government.

The seven party coalition assumed power after the 28 February 2015 general elections and consists of the DC, LCD, Basotho Congress Party, Morematlou Freedom Party, Popular Front for Democracy, National Independent Party and Lesotho People’s Congress. The DC and LCD are the biggest parties in the alliance, after amassing 47 and 12 seats respectively, of the 120 parliamentary seats on offer.

Mr Sekata also claims there was a “high possibility” Dr Mosisili would defect back to the LCD if the factionalism in the DC continued.

“Mosisili will cross (to the LCD) with most DC Members of Parliament (MPs) while Mokola (Mr Moleleki) will be left with DC Proportional Representation MPs who will not make any impact,” he says in the recording.

“Mokola will, therefore, be left in a weaker state, while Mosisili will help the LCD to become stronger and gain more constituencies.

“Moleleki will end up in the opposition. We are happy because Pakalitha is our old man who made a mistake in joining the DC. The people at the (DC) grassroots are ready to return to the LCD with Mosisili.”

Mr Sekata’s unidentified acquaintance echoes the sentiment, saying the DC had “effectively split”. However, he did not believe Mr Moleleki would challenge Dr Mosisili “because he is afraid to stand on his own”.

However, following the leak of the recording, which went viral on social media, LCD Secretary-General Selibe Mochoboroane apologised to Dr Mosisili, Mr Moleleki and other DC officials mentioned in the clip, saying Mr Sekata would face disciplinary action for his “unbecoming behaviour”.

Part of Mr Mochoboroane’s statement, which was issued on Monday this week, reads:  “To the seven parties’ coalition government and  Basotho nation, the office of the secretary-general of the LCD is making this statement after being shocked and embarrassed by the statement being broadcast on radios and circulated on the internet.

“The office of the secretary-general would like to categorically dismiss the statement by Mr Teboho Sekata who is a member of the LCD and our party spokesperson. The statement by Mr Sekata has never been discussed by the party and does not represent the views of the party.”

Mr Mochoboroane, who is also Meteorology and Energy minister, also ordered LCD members to desist from talking to “rabble-rousers” bent on causing disunity within the ruling coalition.

“The office also appeals to members of the LCD to stop meddling in affairs that do not concern them and be vigilant not to be coerced by rabble-rousers who disguise themselves as friends to LCD members but with the hidden intention to use their thoughts in a campaign to drive a wedge between the coalition partners. On behalf of the LCD, I apologise to the leader of the DC, the deputy leader and the Women’s League President,” he says.

Contacted this week, Mr Mochoboroane said disciplinary measures would be taken on Mr Sekata. However, he would not be drawn to comment on the effect the recording had on the DC and LCD’s mulled pact to contest the local government elections to be held in October this year as a unit.

On behalf of the DC, the party’s Deputy Secretary-General Refiloe Litjobo said no decision had been made with regards to the pact as far as he was concerned.

“Our spokesperson, Ntate Seroalong Qoo is the right person to comment on this issue. As far as I know, there is only a letter (proposing the pact) before the (DC) National Executive Committee (NEC) from the LCD. And the DC NEC has not yet concluded on the matter.

“The matter is still on the table. DC members will soon be informed of the decision that will be taken by their leadership,” Mr Litjobo said.

Meanwhile, Mr Sekata yesterday accused ABC member Kobile Ramolula of being the acquaintance he was talking to in the recording. The LCD spokesperson said they held the discussion last week, although he was unaware the conversation was being recorded.

“I called Ramolula while coming from our home area of Semonkong to tell him the messages his relatives had sent me with. The conversation later shifted to politics, but it must be clear that I spoke to Ramolula in my personal capacity as his friend and not on behalf of the LCD,” he said.

“I was not even aware that our conversation was recorded because I was speaking to a person I trusted as a friend despite our different political affiliations.”

Asked about the disciplinary hearing he was facing, Mr Sekata said he had only been given some “advice”.

“I had a meeting with the LCD NEC yesterday, (Tuesday) but it was not a hearing. I was called to be given advice on how I should conduct myself towards friends and colleagues,” he said.

“They told me that I should not trust everyone I speak to because I would compromise my image as the party’s spokesperson if I mixed my social life with my political life. I admitted that I made a wrong decision in discussing such issues with Ramolula and gladly accepted the advice.”

However, Mr Ramolula flatly denied the allegation following enquiries by the Lesotho Times, saying he was currently in South Africa for “personal” business and had not conversed with Mr Sekata “in a long time”.

“That is not my voice in that recording. Please listen to it again and compare it with my voice and you will understand that I did not have any conversation with Sekata,” he said yesterday.

“We come from the same area in Semonkong, and I can confirm that we know each other and can talk about certain issues, but I have not spoken to him in a long time.”

For his part, Mr Moleleki said he would not “stoop so low” as to entertain allegations of leading a faction within the DC.

“I can’t stoop that low, I choose to be silent and focus on building my political career. I have survived in this fraternity because I act on my political responsibilities and don’t argue or respond to unfounded allegations,” he said.

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