FORMER cabinet minister Mahali Phamotse and 10 others who failed to make it to the final list of candidates to represent the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) in the 7 October general elections have reaffirmed their allegiance to the Sam Matekane-led party.
There was widespread anger in the aftermath of the elaborate process to choose candidates to represent the party in forthcoming national polls. The process began with primary elections three weeks ago in 69 constituencies. The top four in each constituency were then subjected to interviews by a panel of experts chosen by the national executive committee (NEC).
One individual candidate was then chosen as the party candidates in the 69 constituencies. They will join party leader Matekane and 10 of his closest allies who were selected to represent the party without having to undergo primaries.
This did not go down well with some of the losing aspiring candidates and some like former cabinet minister, Tlohelang Aumane, have since dumped the RFP for the Teboho Mojapela-led Socialist Revolutionaries (SR).
Some of disgruntled party members even burnt party regalia to express their anger.
There had been widespread rumours that Dr Phamotse, who was snubbed despite winning in her Matlakeng constituency, would follow Mr Aumane’s example and also dump the RFP.
However, Dr Phamotse said she was staying put because party interests were superior to her own. She said her attendance of this week’s RFP rally in Thaba-Tseka was ample testimony of her commitment to the party.
“I attended the Thaba-Tseka rally in solidarity with the RFP because even though I didn’t pass my interview, I remain cognisant of the principles which led me to the RFP,” Dr Phamotse said.
“The party is working for a better Lesotho for all its citizens. I admire Sam Matekane’s leadership qualities. He is an implementer who has done so much for the country even before he ventured into politics.
“Ntate Matekane is a compassionate individual. He cares about others’ needs and if he says I need to step aside so he can implement his plans, I am glad to do so because I believe in his ideals. I have decided not to put myself first but continue to back him (Matekane) back him for the greater good.
“So, I won’t go to court to fight to become the party candidate,” Dr Phamotse said.
Earlier in the week, Dr Phamotse had attended the RFP’s rally in Thaba-Tseka town.
At that rally some of the losing aspiring candidates reaffirmed their loyalty to the party.
Among them was one, Tlali Mphafi, whose bid to stand in the Thabong constituency was unsuccessful.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I was in the running but I lost out. However, I remain a committed RFP supporter. We must all turn our backs on the things that cause conflicts and hinders our progress,” Mr Mphafi said.
He was joined by nine others near the podium who also pledged their loyalty to the RFP despite failing in their quest to stand as party candidates in the forthcoming elections.
One of the winning candidates, Sekhele Mosebetsane, also spoke at the rally, saying those who had unsuccessfully contested in the Mashai constituency had pledged to rally behind him.
On his part, Mr Matekane reiterated his pledge to transform the country’s socio-economic fortunes if elected.
“Once in power, an RFP government will build a clothing factory here in Thaba-Tseka,” Mr Matekane said.
“We will also work on curbing stock theft by inserting micro-chips in animals to enable them to be easily traceable when stolen,” Mr Matekane said.
If the 3000-plus crowd at the rally is anything to go by, then the party is set for a good showing at the polls.