Vote-buying fears deepen

salemane phafaneBy Mikia Kalati

MASERU — Despite denying earlier allegations of vote-buying, the Lesotho Times can reveal that recently re-elected Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) president Salamane Phafane, spent M17 000 on district football executives on the eve of the elections which could have aided his re-election.

A delegation of 25 people from the eight Districts Football Association (Difa) were booked at Golden Hotel in Mafeteng on the eve of the Lefa presidential elections with Phafane paying for all the costs which included accommodation, drinks and supper on the eve of the election and breakfast on the day of the election.

Only representatives from Difa Berea and Maseru were not part of the delegation at the Golden Hotel.

Difa Leribe vice president, Ben Matasane who at first denied that he was at the hotel told this paper that he was indeed among Difa delegates that were at the Golden Hotel on the eve of the elections and only departed in the morning to attend the congress at the Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena.

“Yes, I was in Mafeteng at the Golden Hotel on the eve of the Lefa presidential election,” Matasane said.

“I cannot really say what the agenda was, but I was among the other Difa representatives talking about different football issues”.

Matasane said he was not aware whether it was Lefa or Phafane who was with them on the night for which the bill was paid.

“I really do not know as to who was paying for the expenses, but it was not from us as Difa Leribe and we left there the following morning to attend the congress,” said Matasane.

Sekonyela Molefe and Motlokoa Mafantiri who are also executive committee members of Lefa were also at the hotel.

The claim cover sheet shows that an amount of M17 185.50 was paid on October 10, the day that the delegates checked in at the Golden hotel. It also shows that Lefa delegates occupied 21 rooms at the hotel.

The Lefa presidential elections were marred by controversy with Difa Berea lodging a complaint after their president, Thabo Pule, nominated delegates for the congress without the approval of his committee members.

Phafane has also come under fire for continuously protecting underperforming employees at Lefa.

Recommendations from Fifa handed to Lefa in December 2012 had indicated that the association should advertise the position of technical director stating that Seephephe “Mochini” Matete who has been on the job since 2006 is unfit to remain in office.

The Lesotho Times made attempts to speak to the Lefa president, but his phone rang unanswered.

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