MASERU — Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili says he resigned as leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy LCD) on Tuesday with a heavy heart.
Mosisili told a press conference in Maseru on Tuesday that he was so troubled by the decision to quit the troubled party that his hands were trembling with emotion as he wrote his resignation letter on Tuesday.
Mosisili quit the LCD which he had led for the past 15 years to form the Democratic Congress (DC) which is now running the government.
He said the resignation letter he penned conjured up within him memories he treasured as a leader who won three general elections and two local elections with huge margins.
“I couldn’t believe that I was the one leaving the LCD,” Mosisili said.
“As I am sitting here today announcing that I have left the LCD and I am now a leader of the Democratic Congress, my heart is still crying for the strong bond of love I had cultivated for that party over the years.”
Mosisili said he did all he could to avoid the break-up of the LCD but his lieutenants within the party’s national executive committee worked equally hard to push him out.
He said he officially announced the formation of the DC during Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.
Mosisili said he had tried several times to prevent the split but the executive committee had been uncooperative leaving him with no option but to form the DC.
The DC became the government on Tuesday after speaker of parliament Ntlhoi Motsamai declared it the majority in parliament.
Mosisili said the LCD executive committee had alienated him because he advocated listening to the people who elected them into power but the committee “felt it was above the people, our
masters, and it refused to hold an elective conference as demanded by the owners of the party”.
The LCD was torn by bitter internal fights between two rival factions which were headed by Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki and former communications minister Mothetjoa Metsing.
The infighting reached a crescendo in January after rowdy youths disrupted a special conference that had been ordered by Court of Appeal president Justice Michael Ramodibedi.
Mosisili alleged the national executive committee deliberately caused the conference to fail.
He also said he tried to talk to the committee to hold the conference as required but the committee was adamant that it would not.
Mosisili said last week he made a last-ditch effort to reunite the warring factions when he invited church leaders to mediate in the dispute but the committee “put it bluntly that there would be no reunification”.
“I had called church leaders to my office and we spent almost three hours (in talks).
“I told them all that I did to try to unite the divided party,” Mosisili said.
“I also advised them to go to the executive committee members to get their side of the story. “Church leaders later called us and they were told that there would be no reunification.”
LCD’s chairman, Thabang Pheko, said it was not true that the executive committee was uncooperative and had alienated Mosisili.
He said ever since it was elected in 2009 it never had a problem that needed to be resolved through voting, a sign that the committee was harmoniously joined together in all its resolutions.
“It came as a surprise to me when Ntate Mosisili told the press conference that we were not listening to him,” Pheko said.
“I remember vividly that he used to say we were working smoothly with him and among all committees he worked with we were the best.”
He added: “It is also not true that we refused to unite when Catholic Archbishop Tlali Lerotholi and other heads of Lesotho churches facilitated talks between us.”
Pheko said Mosisili had asked the church leaders to call him, Metsing, elders’ committee chairman, Mpho Malie, the party’s public relations officer Motloheloa Phooko and deputy secretary general Lebohang Ntšinyi to represent the executive committee in the talks.
Mosisili had also allegedly requested the clergymen to call the president of the women’s league Pontšo Sekatle, her husband and Public Works Minister Semano Sekatle, Forestry Minister Kabelo Mafura, Agriculture Minister Ralechate ’Mokose and Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki to represent the complainants against the conduct of the executive committee.
The archbishop however rejected Mosisili’s request saying he wanted to talk to the committee first and he could call others if the committee rejected the unity overtures.
“We never refused to reunite in front of the church heads,” Pheko said.
“The clergymen said they were hopeful that we would unite and they would not cease praying for us.
“Ntate Mosisili surprised me when he said we refused to unite.”