MASERU — There is a fierce battle for the control of the women’s league of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party ahead of its elective conference next month.
The battle for power is between the former president of the league Mookho Mathibeli and the current treasurer, ‘Mapheello Tsuluba.
Mathibeli was expelled from the party last year after being accused of insubordination but she insists that she is still the legitimate leader of the league. Tsuluba who is now playing a central role in the absence of Mathibeli says she is going to contest for the top position at the conference if nominated.
This has angered Mathibeli who is now accusing her of trying to usurp power by calling for a conference without consensus from the other members of the leadership. Tsuluba has however insisted that she has a right to organise the conference. She says Mathibeli is bitter that she has is no longer a member of the party and the leadership. After speaking to Mathibeli the Lesotho Times (LT) also interviewed Thuluba.
Below are excerpts from the interview with ‘Mapheello Tsuluba.
LT: Will you contest for the position of the president of the women’s league at the conference?
Tsuluba: If the people nominate me I will be happy to contest because I believe I can help the party grow. I believe that I have a role to play in the growth of the party. This party has a strong future and I want to be part of it. I want to be part of the leadership because I believe that in the near future we will form the government of this country.
LT: But Mathibeli says your decision to organise the conference is illegal because you don’t have the approval of the league’s executive committee.
Tsuluba: She is not telling the truth at all. She had her own problems and was expelled from the party. She was asked by the leadership to come and sort out the problems but she flatly refused and the leadership had no choice but to expel her. That is her problem and she must deal with it.
LT: But the question still remains. Do you have the right to call for the conference?
Tsuluba: Yes. Those people that she claims to have left the committee were never dismissed. They just decided to follow her. The constitution states that if you don’t attend three consecutive committee meetings you are automatically excluded but we had to bend backwards and wait for them for three months. After that we had no choice but to find replacements to the committee. Mathibeli does not know this because she is no longer a member of the party. She does not attend the meetings so she is just out of touch with the situation.
LT: So it’s not true that there is no committee?
Tsuluba: Her allegations are false. You can ask anyone who is in the know about the events in the party and they will tell you that she is not telling the truth. We have a full committee.
LT: She also said that you have no leadership qualities.
Tsuluba: I don’t know what measurement she is using to come to that conclusion. When she was in the leadership she was very satisfied. I was the treasurer in the LCD women’s league. I don’t know why she is now making such statements. This is not the first leadership position that I have held in a political party. Maybe it is because she has nothing to do. She is just sitting at home at the moment thinking of things to complain about. The fact is that if the people nominate me at the conference I will be happy to contest.
LT: She also said that when you were in the LCD you used to struggle with your reports. She said they had to help you out because you were always struggling.
Tsuluba: She is not telling the truth. When we left the LCD I was the only member who did a proper hand over of the operations. I did not go randomly. I had my things in order. She is now saying all this because she is no longer in the party. It is character assassination but I am happy that the people I work with know that I am competent. The people are aware of this.
LT: Are you sure that the people are happy?
Tsuluba: There are two sides to every election. There are people who support you and others who don’t. It’s natural. This also happened to her when she was in the leadership. She is the one who is weak because she left the party. She threw in the towel when she should have stayed to face the problems. Instead of facing problems she decided to pack her bags. She went for the easy option.
LT: But do you think you have the leadership qualities?
Tsuluba: It is the people who will decide that but I believe that I have the qualities. I believe in working with the people. I will not be a dictator. I will work with the people. I will allow people to make decisions because I am a team player.
LT: She also insinuated that you were not loyal like the others who left with her in protest.
Tsuluba: That was her own problem. She had her own reasons to leave the party. I can’t follow a misdirected vision. What good will it do to the party if we all follow people who leave. What good has it done to her? She is always complaining about this and that instead of focusing on her problems.
LT: How are the preparations for the conference?
Tsuluba: They are going on very well. We already have a date and other things are in order. My only problem is that it’s getting cold already and this might affect the attendance. Some people might not come from the districts.
LT: What will be the main agenda?
Tsuluba: The main issue is that we want to elect a new leadership. We have been operating as an interim committee for a long time. It’s time to have more concrete structures so that we can build the women’s league. We want it to be a vibrant organisation that will help the party grow.
LT: But the conference will not deal with elections alone.
Tsuluba: The elections will be the main issue but there are a lot of other issues that we will discuss. We need to come up with a work plan to move forward. There will also be reports from the different constituencies. After the deliberations we will then have a solid platform to map the way forward. This conference will be the most important because it will come up with the vision that the women’s league will follow from now onwards.
LT: I am asking about the specific issues on the agenda.
Tsuluba: I cannot reveal that now because these issues are still under consideration.
We will only be able to give more details when we are approaching the conference date. By then we will have a clear picture of what will be discussed.