THE race is on for the top leadership posts in the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) after the party set tomorrow as the deadline for submission of names of potential candidates to contest at the elective congress in February next year.
The ABC elective conference is set for 1 and 2 February next year and the submission of names of potential candidates will end speculation over the front runners for posts in the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
Party secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele informed all constituencies in a recent circular that they were expected to submit all their nominees for all leadership positions except that of the party leader on or before end of day tomorrow.
“In its sitting on 18 October 2018, the ABC NEC decided that all constituencies must submit names for the candidates of the 1 to 2 February 2019 elections on or before 30 November 2018,” Mr Ntsekele said.
“The names must be submitted to the office of the secretary general and this decision repels an earlier circular that the deadline for submission of names is the end of December 2018.”
Mr Ntsekele said that the committee decided on an earlier deadline to allow the party’s dispute and resolutions committee to decide whether or not the candidates meet all standards for contesting set by the party constitution and advise the NEC accordingly.
Mr Ntsekele said the approved candidates will be formally informed in writing and will be expected to sign a nomination acceptance document.
All NEC positions, except that of the party leader, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, are up for grabs. Suspended chairperson Motlohi Maliehe is however, out of the race for any leadership position following an August suspension for publicly attacking First Lady Maesiah Thabane.
“The office of the secretary general further informs you, through this circular, that the party chairperson (Maliehe) has been suspended for 12 months and that six months of that suspension is lifted depending on his cooperation with the national executive committee,” Mr Ntsekele said.
Mr Ntsekele told the Lesotho Times that his office would only publish the names of the nominees once the deadline has passed.
“The constituencies have been given until end of this week to submit the names of the nominees and we cannot publish the names until after the deadline,” Mr Ntsekele said.
Asked if he was seeking re-election as party secretary general, Mr Ntsekele said: “If I am nominated, I will stand for the position”.
The official announcement of the potential candidates for the deputy leader, chairperson, deputy chairperson, secretary general, deputy secretary general, treasurer and members will confirm or put to rest the long-held speculation that Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro is contesting for the post of deputy leader.
Party sources told this publication that Dr Majoro will be vying for the post against National University of Lesotho (NUL) Vice Chancellor Nqosa Mahao and Public Works and Transport Minister Prince Maliehe.
Mosalemane legislator Sam Rapapa is said to be eying the post of secretary general against Mr Ntsekele and former ABC legislator Sello Maphalla.
Stadium Area legislator Mokherane Tsatsanyane, Matsieng lawmaker Matsepo Ramakoae and Khubetsoana legislator Likopo Mahase are said to be competing for the treasurer’s post.