Matekane’s ‘elite squad’: who is who?
REVOLUTION for Prosperity (RFP) leader, Sam Matekane, has divided opinion in his party by handpicking 10 of his closest allies to represent the party in the upcoming polls without having to undergo primary elections in their constituencies.
The decision sparked a protest at the party’s Maseru headquarters this week by dissatisfied RFP members led by the Maseru Central youth chairperson, Relebohile Mosamane.
Mr Mosamane and others said they were even willing to go to court to challenge Mr Matekane’s dictatorial order to foist the candidates upon them without any consultations.
Generally, aspiring candidates in political parties are subjected to internal primary elections before they are chosen to represent their parties.
But Mr Matekane and his elite band have been spared all this.
Senior RFP officials including chairperson, Teboho Kobeli, and former cabinet minister, Tlohang Sekhamane, said they had been chosen to represent the party because they were an “embodiment of the RFP’s founding principles of meritocracy”.
In this article, the Lesotho Times provides brief biographies of the ‘elite squad’ who have been exempted from primary elections in the RFP.
Nthomeng Majara (Maseru Central constituency)
Ms Majara is the first woman to be appointed chief justice. She served in that capacity from 2014 to 2019. Before that she held several other high-profile posts including lecturing at the National University of Lesotho (NUL).
She was also a researcher with the Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Educational Trust in the early 2000s. She briefly headed the Internal Affairs Department of the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) before being appointed High Court judge in 2004.
She also chaired the Commission of Enquiry on the Adoption of Children in Lesotho and became a member of the Council of State. Outside Lesotho, she briefly served as a judge at the High Court of Namibia in 2010. This is her first foray into politics with the RFP. She is aiming to wrest the constituency from the current incumbent former Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister, Lesego Makgothi of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC).
Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane (Qalabane constituency)
She is the first female to be appointed governor and chairperson of the board of directors of the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL).
She is an accomplished economist and seasoned policy maker with vast experience in financial matters. Before being appointed CBL governor, Dr Matlanyane was an economics lecturer at NUL.
She also served in various portfolios, including as vice chairperson and board member of the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA).
She is likely to fight it out with the Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader and Home Affairs Minister, Motlalentoa Letsosa, for the right to represent the Qalabane constituency.
Nthati Moorosi (Thetsane)
She may be a political novice but she firmly believes her rich academic grounding and working in the public sphere has helped prepare for her new role.
She holds Bachelor of Humanities in English Language and Literature from the National University of Lesotho (NUL); a BA Honours in Cultural and Media Studies and a Masters’ in Cultural and Media Studies from the University of Natal. She has worked for World Vision, UNDP, Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-Lesotho, MMB-Miller and the Sam Matekane Foundation (SMF) among others.
She will be all out to wrest the Thetsane seat which is currently held by Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro of the ruling ABC.
Lejone Mpotjoane (Hololo)
Mr Mpotjoane is a corporate governance expert, specialising in enterprise risk management and auditing among others.
He has served in various portfolios including chairing the executive committee of the Institute of Directors of Lesotho and the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC). He is also a former Senior Risk Manager at the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA). He is likely to contest against current Hololo MP, Tlokotsi Manyooko, who dumped the ABC for the DC in February this year.
Thabo Maretlane (Thaba-Phatšoa)
The prominent businessman runs the hospitality facility at Thaba-Bosiu Cultural Village. He is the founder of the famous Moshoeshoe Walk in commemoration of the Basotho nation’s founding King Moshoeshoe I’s life and his journey from Menkhoaneng, Butha-Buthe to Thaba Bosiu where he set up his new base in the 19th century. He is aiming to win the Thaba-Phatšoa constituency whose current legislator is former Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Mahala Molapo, of the ABC.
Lebona Lephema (Teyateyaneng)
He is the owner and managing director of Lephema Executive Transport. His company has a lucrative contract with Engen Petroleum to transport petroleum products from South Africa to Lesotho.
Mr Lephema also owns a helicopter just Like Mr Matekane. He is eying the Teyateyaneng whose current legislator is former ABC deputy leader, Prince Maliehe.
Mokhethi Shelile (Lithabaneng)
Like the others on this list, the former Head of Investment Promotion at the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) is making his first foray into the cut-throat world of politics. In his quest to wrest the constituency, he could come up against the current incumbent, Social Development Minister ‘Matebatso Doti of the ABC.
Cloete Mdlokovana (Mohale’s Hoek)
He runs motor spares and tyres business. He also runs a fleet of taxis. He is eying the Mohale’s Hoek seat which fell vacant after the death of ABC legislator, Sentje Lebona, in 2019.
Thabo Mofosi (Moyeni)
The prominent farmer is likely to square off with current MP, Mahooana Khati of the DC.
Ntšiuoa Sekete (Lebakeng)
The former Miss Lesotho and former television presenter has also had a stint at the LNDC as public relations officer. She is likely to slug it out with current MP and Health Minister, Semano Sekatle, who defected from the DC to the ABC in 2019.