‘RCL defections a non-event’

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RCL Secretary General ‘Mamolula Ntabe
RCL Secretary General ‘Mamolula Ntabe

Keiso Mohloboli

REFORMED Congress of Lesotho (RCL) Secretary General ‘Mamolula Ntabe has scoffed at claims that the party was on the verge of collapse following the defection of several National Executive Committee (NEC) members.

Ms Ntabe told the Lesotho Times this week the RCL leadership was not losing sleep over the officials’ departure in February and March this year, as they had “failed to measure up” to the task of growing the party’s membership.

Former RCL Deputy Secretary-General Matšeliso Tuoane and Treasurer Ithuteng Monaheng joined the All Basotho Convention (ABC), while another official, Tebello Phangoa, joined the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).

According to Ms Ntabe, the trio jumped ship after falling foul of party regulations which required regular attendance of NEC meetings.

“Our constitution is very clear on the rule that NEC members must not absent themselves from committee sittings on more than three occasions without giving written reasons,” she said.

“My office wrote letters to them asking why they were not attending NEC meetings. Instead of giving their reasons, they decided to run away.

“However, Ms Tuoane’s issue was exceptional because she indicated before my office wrote to her that she had a lot of schoolwork on her plate and was unable to fulfil both roles.”

Ms Ntabe said Mr Phangoa’s absence “had not been felt” since his defection.

“Mr Phangoa was RCL leader Keketso Rantšo’s personal secretary when she was Labour and Employment minister and a member of the LCD. He used to help ‘m’e Keke on government matters, and not RCL issues. The party did not even feel the effect of his exit since he made no impact on the party,” she said.

Asked how many members the party had, Ms Ntabe said she could only give an accurate figure at the end of the year “as stipulated in the RCL constitution”. She, however, insisted the party was growing in leaps and bounds since its formation in December 2014.

“I can assure you that every weekend, during our rallies, we register new members joining from other parties and I have seen by mere observation of the turn up at out rallies that RCL is growing,” Ms Ntabe said.

“The RCL was only two months old when it competed in the general elections last year, but it received more than 6 000 votes and subsequently got two proportional representation seats in the National Assembly. We have not stopped campaigning for the party and hopefully, we would have grown by the time of the next elections.”

RCL deputy leader, Dr Motloheloa Phooko, also said the party was still intact and would be holding first-anniversary activities to celebrate its founding and growth.

“We would not be here if the RCL was collapsing and we would not be celebrating,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ms Tuoane insisted the RCL was “crumbling” and defended her contributions to the party.

“I don’t know how Ms Ntabe measures the growth or decline of a party, but the RCL has lost a lot of members within a short period of time,” she said.

“I don’t think Ms Ntabe is fair to herself, the party and to myself by saying my exit was a non-event. I am proud of my contributions that enabled the RCL to get 119 votes in the Senqu constituency in the February 2015 general elections.”

Ms Tuoane further said the RCL gained 90 votes from the Khubetsoana constituency where she contested the elections, adding: “I’m sure I left a very big gap in the RCL despite claims that I was useless.

“I refuse to be dragged into cheap and petty politics. There were so many irregularities in the administration of the party but due to professionalism and ethics, I just left without pointing fingers at anyone.”

Also contacted for comment, Mr Monaheng said he was shocked by Ms Ntabe’s claims that he had failed to make any meaningful contribution to the RCL.

“I am one of the founding members of the RCL, and it is a pity that today I am being considered a useless member. They let me be treasurer for a year and only found me useless after my departure.

“For the sake of the dignity of the party and my good image, I wouldn’t want to spill the beans on what exactly made me leave because it can destroy the RCL,” Mr Monaheng said, adding he had not joined any other party.

On his part, Mr Kaaka suggested he would not be losing sleep over Ms Ntabe’s claims.

“It is her opinion that I did not add any value to the RCL and I am not going to argue with her. There is a lot I could reveal but since I am no longer a member, I am not interested in what they have to say about me after my departure.”

Efforts to speak to Mr Phangoa to hear his side of the story were fruitless as he was not reachable on his phone.

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