ALLIANCE of Democrats (AD) leader, Professor Ntoi Rapapa, has reiterated his party’s full support and confidence in Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s Revolution for Prosperity (RFP)-led coalition administration.
As such, Prof Rapapa warned his AD supporters against speaking ill of the government “because we are partners in this administration” along with Minister of Health Selibe Mochoboroane’s Movement for Economic Change (MEC).
This he said while addressing his party’s followers in Thaba-Phatšoa, Leribe, over the weekend.
“You should know that as AD and as partners in this three-party coalition with the Movement for Economic Change (MEC), and supported by four other political parties, we are rallying behind this government in all honesty and by all means,” Prof Rapapa said.
“This government is led by RFP in partnership with AD and MEC, and supported by United for Change (UFC), HOPE, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC). Meaning that government enjoys the support of 71 seats.”
This was Prof Rapapa’s second rally after the March 2023 elective conference that saw him unseating AD founding leader Monyane Moleleki.
Prof Rapapa’s victory, which had been evident in the build-up to those elections, had left deep fissures in the party. Mr Moleleki and his supporters have been sulking in heavy bitterness. They seem reluctant to embrace Prof Rapapa as party leader.
The lack of support for Prof Rapapa by Mr Moleleki and his cohorts, has been demonstrated on two separate occasions. Firstly, when the new AD leader held his maiden rally in his native Mosalemane constituency, the former leader and his supporters did not show up, preferring to throw a braai at his Qoatsaneng residence.
The second incident was the Thaba-Phatsóa rally itself. Mr Moleleki and his supporters did not show up, preferring to instead get together for another braai at Masianokeng. Mr Moleleki’s blue eyed boy – Thuso Litjobo – has gone as far as claiming that Mr Moleleki “is still our leader”. Mr Moleleki is himself enmeshed in apparent bitterness. He is said to be still insisting that Prof Rapapa should never have challenged him for the leadership.
“Those who are a part of us as AD must support this coalition government and not attack it…. We are not saying there will be no mistakes in the party or government. We must know how to address and channel our grievances constructively instead of attacking the party….” Prof Rapapa said.
He also warned party members to be wary of those who no longer support it but still try to masquerade as political peers.
“When one begins going against us, you will know it by their utterances…. Their language will tell you that they are no longer a part of us,” he said
The AD leader said the party’s executive committee had decided that all its members will be eligible to participate and contest in the up-coming local government elections irrespective of the duration of their membership of the party.
Most of Lesotho political parties’ constitutions have clauses barring members whose membership is less than thirty-six months from contesting elections, be they committee, local government, or general polls.
However, in recent years political parties such as the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) and the Socialist Revolutionaries (SR) have convened special conferences to suspend or completely delete such clauses to allow for inclusivity for new members.
“Our executive committee has resolved that anyone who enjoys the support of the majority in their respective branches and constituencies are at liberty to contest the local government elections,” Prof Rapapa said.
“This is because we had a couple of challenges where others left the party while others joined. So, we have all agreed to start afresh and give everyone interested in contesting a chance. It means that even new members are welcome as long as you have the support of the majority from your branch.”
Prof Rapapa said they had opted for this approach unlike other parties that he said had a penchant to weigh people “on the size and sound your shoe heels make” and “make you wait for five years before they can welcome you into their fold”.
“So, if you choose to go there, it’s your choice and you will surely be wasting your time,” Prof Rapapa said, urging AD members to remain loyal to the party.