Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) leader, Molahlehi Letlotlo, has dismissed claims that he had formed a new party due to a bitter power-struggle within the organisation.
Mr Letlotlo further denied allegations by party spokesperson, Bokang Ramatšella, that a faction led by the Social Development minister, had since vacated the LPC office at Manonyane Building “because they lost the fight”.
In fact, Mr Letlotlo told the Lesotho Times that Mr Ramatšella was not even the LPC spokesperson because he had allegedly been suspended by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
In an earlier interview with the Lesotho Times, Mr Ramatšella alleged Mr Letlotlo “and his team” were about to form a splinter party and had already opened an office in Maseru “because they were disgruntled and stranded after losing the fight”, for the control of the party.
He further said Mr Letlotlo’s decision to suspend him, as well as seven other NEC members, was unconstitutional and had since been overturned.
However, according to Mr Letlotlo, the decision to suspend Mr Ramatšella for alleged misconduct was reached in October last year.
The minister said Mr Ramatšella was allegedly found to have breached the LPC’s constitution by making himself available for the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) proportional representation list of parliamentarians ahead of the 28 February 2015 snap election.
“This was a legitimate decision taken by the NEC in October 2015. Shortly after Ramatšella’s suspension, the NEC further suspended Secretary-General Moipone Piet for taking Ramatšella’s side whenever the NEC met after his suspension, insisting the NEC decision should be rescinded, among other issues,” the minister said.
The six other NEC members, according to Mr Letlotlo, were suspended in January this year “after we became aware that they were holding secret meetings with the suspended Ramatšella and Piet, and sympathising with them. Worst, they ended assuming they were the legitimate NEC and started issuing letters against my decision and that of the real NEC”.
The minister further dismissed Mr Ramatšella’s argument that his faction of the NEC could not constitute a quorum, and was therefore not in a position to make binding decisions, pointing out there were two additional members of the committee on his side “namely the two representatives of the youth and women’s league”.
LPC national chairperson, Mabala Maqelepo, who is siding with Mr Letlotlo in the infighting, added they decided to leave the party’s office after Mr Ramatšella and his faction “broke their way in and confiscated the party’s equipment”.
He continued: “The reason why we left is not because we are forming a new party. We just wanted to leave that office because we noticed it was being damaged by Ntate Ramatšella and his team. That building does not belong to us, so we don’t want to be caught up in the middle when the landlord eventually comes. So we might have left the office, but we remain the legitimate LPC NEC.”
Meanwhile, the feuding executives told the Lesotho Times that the LPC would be holding elections this weekend.
However, the elective conferences are set for different venues with the Mr Letlotlo faction meeting in Masite, Rothe from 27 to 28 February while the Ramatšella faction holding their gathering at Lesotho Co-op College.
Mr Letlotlo said the Masite conference would, apart from electing the new NEC, also determine the fate of Mr Ramatšella and his team “within the LPC structures”.
The LPC formed a coalition government with the Democratic Congress, Lesotho Congress for Democracy, Popular Front for Democracy, Basotho Congress Party, Marematlou Freedom Party and National Independent Party after the 28 February 2016 parliamentary elections had resulted in a hung parliament.
The party was then given the Social Development ministry when the alliance shared the various government departments.
- See Mr Ramatšella’s interview