MASERU –– Libe Moremoholo was last Saturday overwhelmingly elected youth president of the main opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party.
Moremoholo, 33, beat ABC youth league interim president Pitso Maisa to claim the top post.
Moremoholo, a Member of Parliament for Likhetlane constituency, was elected at an elective conference held at Lakeside Hotel in Maseru.
He is a former member of the interim national youth committee which was put into power in October 2006.
Moremoholo thumped Maisa by 267 votes to 73 votes.
Sello Mokone, who was also vying for the presidency, managed only 24 votes.
Potlako Thabane, son of party leader Tom Thabane, was initially thought to be interested in running for the youth presidency but he was not one of the contestants last Saturday.
Maisa conceded defeat and congratulated Moremoholo on his election victory.
He said he was ready to assist the party when required.
“I am ready to help in every way possible where I am needed. I believe I still have a lot to offer the youth,” Maisa said.
He said he hoped Moremoholo would be loyal to the youths who voted for him.
Maisa had been tipped to retain the presidency after being at the helm for two years.
Moremoholo said he was happy to win the election but admitted he was surprised by the outcome of the poll.
“The competition seemed tough at first and I must admit I was intimidated by Pitso Maisa,” he said.
“I was convinced he would win the presidency.”
Moremoholo was on Tuesday magnanimous in victory, extending an olive branch to Maisa.
In an interview with the Lesotho Times, Moremoholo said he would always consult Maisa “because of his expertise and experience in ABC politics”.
“Maisa is our political icon as ABC youth,” Moremoholo said.
“His expertise is of value and we would be naive not to (exploit) it.”
He attributed his election victory to his solid academic background and experience garnered over years in ABC youth politics.
“There is no question that my academic background and previous leadership positions put me in a better position to win,” Moremoholo said.
Moremoholo has held various posts in civic organisations.
He was deputy president of the Lesotho Youth Federation and became its president when he succeeded Sofonea Shale in 2000.
He also served as Students’ Representative Council president at the Lesotho College of Education, formerly known as the NTTC, in 2001.
He said party leader Thabane told delegates to elect into office a dynamic individual who would drive the ABC to new heights.
“The leader (Thabane) encouraged the youth to vote for a brave, militant, well-informed and dynamic individual,” Moremoholo said.
“Someone who would represent the party at national, regional and international level appropriately.”
He said he was convinced that he was such a leader.
Moremoholo said the youth league’s mandate was to enforce the constitution of the party and defend the values of the ABC.
“We have to enforce the ABC constitution and promote the manifesto whether we are in government or not,” he said.
“We have to unpack our manifesto’s contents and make them a reality.”
Moremoholo said the youth will try and work to enforce the ABC leader’s vision.
“We have to come up with strategies to ensure that we multiply the current number of our constituencies by three,” he said.
“This we will achieve by ensuring that our youth participate in local government and national elections.”
He said the ABC youth would soon embark on a massive recruitment drive targeting youths aged between 15 and 17 who will be eligible to vote in the next general elections in 2012.
Moremoholo said he wanted to transform the ABC youth league into an aggressive force that pushes for political change.
“Our youth need to be aggressive within their political party in order to effect the much-needed change,” he said.
“This should happen even if it means risking with our lives for the sake of transformation.”
The tough-talking Moremoholo said the youth league should “not be seen as a team of priests”.
“This means we should not tolerate anybody disrespecting and dragging our leader’s name through the mud,” he said.
“Let me tell you that the LCD (Lesotho Congress for Democracy) still owes us an apology for trampling on the ABC flag in Maputsoe.
“If they do not apologise, we will strategise internally on how to retaliate.”
Thabane said he was happy with the way the elections had been held, adding that the youth had exercised absolute freedom in choosing their representatives.
“The elective conference was free and fair. This is an indication that the youth knew what to do,” Thabane said.
“They learnt a lot in the interim stages of their committee.
“They exercised absolute freedom in the election.”
The ABC boss said he expected the new leadership of the youth league to consolidate structures of the party in all constituencies.
He said he also expected to see lively and effective constituency committees to drive the party’s agenda forward.
“The league should also sensitise people about the ABC and the changes which the party has the potential to bring,” Thabane said.
Thabane said the youth should also promote education “because many youths have not had the luxury of developing academically”.
“Youth should focus on being educated both academically and politically; seek an enlightened way of life,” he said.