Warring factions in talks to save NRA
THE two warring factions of the National Reforms Authority (NRA) were yesterday locked in closed door peace talks after Law and Justice Minister, Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane, desperately pleaded for a ceasefire within the Authority to enable it to complete its crucial work.
The NRA threatens to be derailed by factionalism between its chairman Pelele Letsoela and another one backed by prominent Thaba-Bosiu Principal Chief, Khoabane Theko.
The two factions have been haggling for control of the Authority and its outcomes. Chief Theko’s side has accused Mr Letsoela, a leader of a small political party – the Basotho Democratic National party – of trying to usurp the NRA to promote his agenda and that of his fellow smaller parties. Mr Letsoela has, among other things, been pushing for the number of proportional representation seats, which normally benefit smaller parties that fail to win constituencies, to be increased from 40 to 60, an issue fiercely opposed by Chief Theko’s side which believes it would make it impossible to produce coherent government.
On Tuesday, Chief Theko’s side had planned to oust Liteboho Kompi, the deputy chairperson of the NRA, seen as a crucial cog in Mr Letsoela’s faction.
Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu had on Tuesday morning implored members of the NRA, at a breakfast meeting, to jettison infighting and concentrate on their business of producing reforms aimed at saving Lesotho from political turmoil in future.
Law and Justice Minister Lekheto Rakuoane had subsequently addressed the NRA on the same day and repeated Mr Mokhothu’s exhortations for unity and peace.
Chief Theko had nonetheless insisted that the planned vote of no confidence against Ms Kompi should proceed. His faction saw the move as a precursor to ousting Mr Letsoela.
Mr Letsoela was then heckled for insisting that the vote of no confidence against Ms Kompi be deferred to create time to enable debate and discussion on Adv Rakuoane’s speech.
Chief Theko’s faction wants Ms Kompi ousted for bringing the NRA into disrepute by allegedly ill-advising Mr Letsoela.
The faction also believes that eliminating Ms Kompi would make it easier for them to dethrone Mr Letsoela.
A fierce slanging match followed Mr Letsoela’s decision not to allow the vote of no confidence against Ms Kompi to proceed. The meeting then broke for lunch and discussions resumed between factions at Adv Rakuoane’s urging when tampers had cooled down. The factions then resolved to hold a closed door meeting yesterday.
The closed door meeting was still on at the time of going to press and it was unclear whether it would get the factions to narrowed their fierce differences that threaten to derail the implementation of SADC recommended reforms to end perennial instability in Lesotho.