THE Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) is on the verge of a split as party leader, Molahlehi Letlotlo, and his faction have left the party headquarters and opened a separate office after falling out with the National Executive Committee (NEC).
Mr Letlotlo, who is also Social Development minister, has been at loggerheads with the NEC since last year, after they accused him of disrespecting the party’s decisions since his ministerial appointment in March last year. The disgruntled NEC members are led by deputy leader Maphoma Sejanamane, Secretary-General Moipone Piet and spokesperson Bokang Ramatšella.
The LPC leader was also accused of criticising Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili for “overstaying” in office, employing youths from the main opposition All Basotho Convention in his ministry instead of LPC members, unilaterally dismissing senior party members, and insulting the LPC’s founding leader, Advocate Kelebone Maope, among other alleged transgressions.
However, Mr Letlotlo has since denied the allegations, saying they were part of attempts by his rivals to oust him from the helm of the party.
Mr Letlotlo told the Lesotho Times this week that he and his supporters were “left with no choice” but to relocate to another building in Maseru after the NEC locked them out of the party headquarters at Manonyane Building.
“Whenever I called for meetings at the party offices, we would find the doors locked and the locks changed,” he said.
“They also prevented the Lesotho Liberation Army Veterans Association’s from using their office after changing their locks for some unknown reason.”
Mr Letlotlo said he had taken with him the party’s stamp and letterhead, since he was leading the “authentic” LPC.
“That faction does not have the locus standi (right or capacity) to keep the party’s stamp and letterhead. I wrote them letters of suspension and they did not respond,” he said.
“Since they graciously accepted their suspensions by not responding to my correspondence, I am now in full control of the party.”
The minister said the four-member team tasked by Dr Mosisili last November to mediate in the LPC squabbles had failed to unite the warring parties. The team comprised Democratic Congress Secretary-General Ralechate ‘Mokose, Lesotho Congress for Democracy deputy leader Tšeliso Mokhosi, Basotho Batho Democratic Party leader Jeremane Ramathebane and a member of the Marematlou Freedom Party.
“That team failed to end the standoff, and I have been left with no choice but to relocate from our party offices,” said Mr Letlotlo.
However, the party’s Secretary-General, Moipone Piet, also told this paper that they locked the office doors to prevent Mr Letlotlo from holding meetings with “bogus” NEC members.
“Ntate Letlotlo wanted to hold meetings with people who are not legitimate NEC members. There was no reason for bogus NEC members to hold meetings there,” Ms Piet said.
She confirmed that Mr Letlotlo’s faction had taken the party stamp and letterhead.
“They took the party stamp and letterhead to their office. It’s shocking that they decided to grab objects that are supposed to be in the custody of the secretary-general,” she said.