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Metsing warns party against ‘detractors’

by Lesotho Times
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. . . deputy premier says LCD under attack from other parties

Bongiwe Zihlangu

The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, has warned party supporters against allowing “detractors” to use their hands “in destroying your party”.
According to Mr Metsing, who was addressing a rally in Maseru on Sunday, the LCD had recently come under attack from political parties who were using the party’s supporters to destabilise it.

Metsing, who is also deputy prime minister, was flanked by his Political Advisor Mpho Malie, Finance Minister Leketekete Ketso, LCD Chairman Thabang Pheko, LCD Spokesperson and Communications Minister Selibe Mochoboroane, Public Works and Transport Minister Lebesa Maloi, Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister Mohlabi Tsekoa, Education and Training Minister ‘Makabelo Mosothoane as well as several other MPs, when he was making Sunday’s address.

“We are travelling a difficult and thorny journey, thanks to our friends, despite the fact that never have we, at any given time, gone out of our way to create chaos in other parties,” Mr Metsing said.
“As far as the LCD is concerned, all the political parties in Lesotho must be allowed to thrive and for issues to be approached and handled truthfully.”

Two weeks ago, some members of the LCD, accompanied by their colleagues from the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Basotho National Party (BNP), held a press conference in Maseru, where they berated Mr Metsing and declared him unfit to lead the party.

The ABC, LCD and BNP entered into an agreement to form a coalition government after the 26 May 2012 election had produced a hung parliament, thus ending Pakalitha Mosisili’s 15-year tenure as premier and pushing his Democratic Congress (DC) to the opposition.

But in recent months, the LCD and ABC — with 26 and 28 seats respectively in the coalition — have not seen eye to eye, prompting the LCD on 11 June to sign an
agreement to form a coalition government with the DC.
The LCD signed the agreement after Prime Minister Thomas Thabane had requested King Letsie III to prorogue parliament on Friday June 6, without consulting Metsing.
“We know of a press conference where some members of the LCD and many others from other parties, held a press conference close-by and I realise that they are hell-bent on sowing divisions in the LCD,” Mr Metsing said.
“Just the other day, I also learnt that in Leribe, members of other parties disguised as LCD supporters burnt our party’s T-shirts.
“But the LCD would never wish to divide and cause other parties’ members to engage in fights and hurt each other because that would translate into a civil war among Basotho.”

Mr Metsing further appealed to LCD members who had any grievances, to seek recourse through relevant party structures instead of “opening the door for the enemy”, adding “we’ll not always see eye to eye on issues”.
“Do not bring our foes into our midst and don’t let yourselves be used by them to ensure the demise of the LCD,” Mr Metsing said.
“Even if we differ on issues from time to time, our party is more important than anything else.”
On the issue of the current nine-month prorogation of parliament, Mr Metsing said when they first heard about it as the
LCD, “it ushered with it a great deal of confusion”.
“But the LCD leadership fought and resisted it with all our might,” Mr Metsing said.
He declared the prorogation, which began on 10 June, undemocratic and at odds with what the LCD stands for.
“Our name stands for democracy but if we don’t, then there’s no point in wanting to associate ourselves with the LCD, hence
we had to fiercely resist the prorogation,” he said.

“When those we work with did not seem to hear us, we resolved that in comparison, democratic governance is more important than me as a person, and much more important than the LCD, ABC and DC. Democracy is emancipation for all Basotho regardless of political affiliation.”
He added while addressing previous rallies in both the Thaba-Phechela and Thaba-Moea constituency, he had strongly maintained that should parliament be prorogued in Lesotho “the LCD will never be part of it”.
“That was long before it happened and no LCD supporters, at any given time, said to me that we should just keep silent if parliament was prorogued,” Mr Metsing said.
“In politics, the importance of upholding democratic principles surpasses anything else under the sun, in any country.”
Mr Metsing said in every democratic dispensation, the three pillars of governance, the executive, parliament and judiciary “are recognised”.
“But in autocratic countries, you will find only the executive and judiciary, but not parliament,” Mr Metsing said.
“That is why we became scared when we learnt that parliament would be suspended for a whole nine months and found it our obligation to emphasise that it was wrong.”
On the ongoing reconciliatory talks between the three coalition parties following the fall-out, Mr Metsing said the two major issues on the table were their agreement with the DC, which he said his coalition partners were against, while the LCD’s main
concern is that the prorogation should be cancelled.
“We therefore agreed stabilising government was the most important thing, while the LCD also undertook to suspend its deal with the DC, to allow us to hold hands and work together,” Mr Metsing said.
“We agreed with the DC, that we should opt for peace to avert bloodshed and review our agreement.”
But, Mr Metsing still referred to the prorogued parliament as “an outstanding issue between us”.
“What remains is how to go about the prorogation issue; no one can say that suspending parliament for nine months is in the best interest of Basotho.
“The LCD stands for what is right and our courage means we’re doing what is right,
despite the jeers and sneers of my companions.”


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